A protest ensued in Akpunmiri Ubakala community of Abia State on Thursday December 12, after a fruit seller identified as Kasarachi Moses was allegedly shot dead by SARS officials.
Kasarachi reportedly died after being hit by a stray bullet fired by one of the SARS officers.
While Abia State Commissioner of Police, Mr Eneh Okon alleged that the deceased died while men of his command responded to an armed robbery attack, residents of the community debunked the claim.
Okon however urged residents of the community to remain calm as a panel of inquiry has been set up to investigate the incident.
“We got a distress call that armed robbers were operating at Ubakala and the SARS operatives responded to the distress call.
“But on sighting the SARS operatives, the armed robbers, who were five in number and operating in military uniform, started shooting at the policemen.
“It was during the exchange of gunfire that a stray bullet hit the victim, who later died in hospital.
“One of the suspects dropped his weapon and fled the scene, while the Sienna SUV used by the policemen for the operation had a lot of bullet holes.”
An eyewitness who spoke to newsmen denied claims of a robbery attack taking place in the community. He disclosed that the deceased died after being hit by a bullet fired by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad operatives who were in the habit of raiding the area to arrest commercial motorcyclists.
“The victim was a middle-aged woman, who sold fruits by the roadside. She was also the one taking care of her aged mother, who had been sick.
“It is a pity that she died in such a manner due to the recklessness of the policemen. All we want is justice in this matter. We want the state police command to investigate the incident and bring the culprits to justice.”