The Nigerian Air Force has denied reports that its personnel killed traders during a clash with suspected hoodlums at the popular Ladipo Market in the Mushin area of Lagos State on Tuesday.
WuzupNigeria reported that three persons were allegedly killed by stray bullets as the airmen shot indiscriminately during the clash.
However, in a statement by NAF's Director of Information and Public Relations (DOPRI), Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the force claimed that only one person died during the clash at the popular Paramo area of Ladipo Market.
Gabkwet claimed that the shot that killed the trader was fired by a soldier and not personnel of the air force attached to the Operation (OPs) MESA who was at the scene to respond to a distress call.
He said, "Firstly, NAF personnel did not kill anyone. Moreover, it was one person that died not three. The information we have at the moment is that the NAF operatives who are attached to OPs MESA received a distress call that a soldier was having an issue with a debtor.
"So, they moved in to restore peace but as soon as some of the traders saw them, they started attacking them. They threw stones at them and destroyed the windscreen of the patrol vehicle.
"They attacked a soldier and seized his pistol. So, the Army soldier who was having issues with a debtor trader managed to retrieve the seized pistol and fired a shot in order free himself and the operatives from the crowd. It was that gunshot that killed one of the traders.
"Two of our operatives sustained injuries. The information we have at the moment is that our men acted professionally and were only in the market to ensure peace giving the economic importance of the market to Lagos state and our country as a whole.
"Despite this account, we are going to investigate the incident to know what really happened. We will get to the root of the matter and if any of our operatives is found to have acted otherwise, they would be sanctioned accordingly."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Nigerian Army's 81 Division, Major Olaniyi Osoba, vowed that an investigation would be carried out to ascertain what actually happened.