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Explosion Rocks Market Near Onitsha, 12 Casualties Recorded



Tension has enveloped a settlement known as Kara Market, along Atani Road, in Ogbaru near Onitsha, Anambra state, South East- Nigeria, following an explosion that rocked the area Wednesday, leaving 12 people with various degrees of injuries.

The Anambra state police public Relations officer, PPRO, Ali Okechukwu, who confirmed the incident to newsmen said the explosion was caused by fuel stored in a jerrycan.

According to him, “the explosion was not a bomb as being speculated by people.

“A jerrycan of petrol that was brought to the settlement exploded around the area and some people sustained various degrees of burns.

“They were taken to various hospitals and are currently receiving treatments.

He said no death was recorded in the incident which threw the entire area into panic and tension.

The Police, he added, had  taken control of the situation and advised people to stop panic buying and storage of fuel because of the danger such practice posed in the event of an explosion or fire incident.

He however, put the casualty figure at 11.

An eyewitness and leader of the settlement, Mr Sabo Mohammed, told newsmen that the incident occurred at a restaurant in the market at about 8:30 p.m. on May 3.

He alleged that the explosion might have been from a bomb brought into the market by an unknown person.

 “An unidentified boy walked into a restaurant with three jerry cans demanding for food and left almost immediately without eating the food, leaving the jerrycans behind.

“Some minutes later, one of the jerrycans, exploded leaving many people injured.

“The victims had severe burns that you cannot even hold their skin to carry them to hospital,” Mohammed said.

Another eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, described the incident as “unfortunate”.

The source said that the victims were taken to five hospitals — Good News Hospital and Chioma Clinic both in Ogbaru; Toronto and Borromew Hospitals in Onitsha, and the General Hospital at Asaba, Delta state.

“This has been a peaceful market until yesterday. We are now disorganised and afraid of what might happen next,” the source said.

The source urged the state government to provide adequate security in the area and help pay the bills of the victims.

Narrating her ordeal, one of the victims, who is presently receiving treatment in one of the hospitals, said she was washing dishes at the restaurant when the explosion occurred.

According to her, “I was washing plates when suddenly I heard a loud noise and fire spreading everywhere.

“Substances from the fire poured on people eating and those standing near the restaurant.

“It was then that I realised I was affected too,” she stated.



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