The traditional ruler of Assa autonomous community, Eze Emmanuel Assor, told journalist that the community was talking to the military hierarchy over the incident.

“We want to make sure that such a thing does not happen again and there is lasting peace,” he added.

The President-General of the community, Mr Bartholomew Obodo, said he had met with the garrison commander and efforts were on to ensure that the culprits were arrested.

When contacted, the Army Public Relations Officer of the 34 Artillery Brigade Command, Obinze, Owerri, Babatunde Zubairu, said he was not aware of the incident.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Orlando Ikeokwu, who confirmed the killing of the 45-year-old, told our correspondent that the soldiers were not accompanying the persons carrying the crude oil.

He explained that the officers arrested the owners of the crude oil and were taking them to the military base in the community when the youth intercepted them.

Ikeokwu said it was in a bid to ward off the violent youths that the military men shot “consistently in the air, but unfortunately, a bullet hit the victim and he died.”

He said the state Commissioner of Police, Nasiru Muhammed, had ordered an investigation into the incident.