The annual Egume marathon race in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State, turned bloody on Tuesday after three spectators were reportedly killed during the event.
The incident happened when a member of the state vigilante group allegedly opened fire on a crowd protesting over a decision by the organizers of the marathon race.
The edition which attracted participants from Bayelsa, Benue, and Plateau, turned soar when the vigilante shot and killed two people, instantly with the third person said to be confirmed dead at a hospital.
The vigilante man had shot in his attempt to calm the riotous crowd when the spectators raised eyebrows over the persons declared runners-up in the marathon race, eyewitnesses said.
The deceased include Benjamin Adaji, Architect Rilwan Abass Abdul, and Mallam Mujaye Dansofo.
“Two persons tied in the third position during the race. The organiser declared the two as winners in that position. But the decision did not go down well with the spectators, as they protested against one of the declared winners in the tie,” a resident, Ebrahim Yakubu, said.
“In the process, the spectators started throwing stones. From nowhere, a vigilante appeared on the scene with a pump action gun, shooting and killing the three persons in the ensuing confusion.”
One of the organisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the marathon race is an organised annual event by the youths of the town, preceding the national convention of the Egume-Ome descendants union to spice up the organisation’s activities.
“We invited the police authorities to coordinate the marathon race as usual. Unfortunately, their vehicle developed a mechanical fault at Efikpo near St. Peter Catholic”.
“While the police were fixing their vehicle, a crisis developed at the terminal point over the actual winner of the third position.”
“Unfortunately, an uninvited vigilante came there with a loaded pump action gun and pulled the trigger in his bid to restore law and order, killing the three persons in the process,” the organiser said.. And he is said to be on the run
The state police command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), William Aya, did not respond to calls and a text message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.