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Pandemonium as police shoot two traders in Ogun

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Pandemonium broke out yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital after operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) shot two Hausa traders at the popular Olomore food market. It took the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Criminal Investigations Department, Abass and the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Edward Ajogun, to quell the breakdown of law and order from degenerating into crisis.

For over four hours, angry protesters, mostly youths, blocked a section of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway where the incident occurred. They used tires to set bonfires on the road, making it impossible for commuters to ply the road.

An eyewitness, Nasir Abiola Sani, told The Guardian that eight SARS officers from Lafenwa Police Station stormed the market in an unmarked Toyota Sienna vehicle when some of the traders were still offloading their goods from the trucks that brought them.

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According to Sani, when they inquired from the policemen the reason for storming the market, they replied that they were looking for ‘Yahoo boys’ (Internet fraudsters). The policemen later accosted two men, Musa Adamu and Awal, who they later shot after dragging them on the floor and left them critically injured.

Angered by the police action, hundreds of the traders gathered themselves and blocked the roads. The victims were rushed to a nearby private hospital, Bisted Hospital but were referred to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Abeokuta.

The situation further degenerated when the angry protesters, armed with sticks, planks, stones and other harmful objects attacked police officers who responded to a distress call from their colleagues. The protesters pelted the officers, chasing them and chanting “barawo”, forcing the officers to run for their dear lives.

The chairman of the pepper and tomatoes sellers association, Alhaji Ishaku Nuya, who spoke to The Guardian, demanded justice for his colleagues, saying the perpetrators of the act must be fished out to face the full wrath of the law if they want the traders pacified.

The state police command spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he didn’t know the cause of the fracas but “investigation is still going on”.

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