An eleven-month-old baby was feared dead while several others sustained varying degrees of injuries, when an imaginary explosion occurred at the Eke Ozi market in Igboeze North local government area of Enugu state Friday.
The incident, which occurred at about 2:00pm few metres to the Divisional Police Headquarters at Ogrute, was suspected to be a bomb blast, making the market women and traders to scamper for safety.
It was however later discovered that it was a mere fire-cracker popularly known as knock-out thrown by some children who were playing around the market.
The sound of the fire-cracker threw the entire market into pandemonium as marketers thought members of the Boko Haram sect had invaded the area. [eap_ad_1] In the ensuing melee, the eleven-month-old baby was trampled upon, while hoodlums had a field day looting shops, during the stampede, which lasted for several minutes.
The panic came barely a month after 21 suspected members of Boko Haram were intercepted at Obolo Afor community, about four kilometres away from Igboeze North.
The police authorities however dismissed the allegation that the suspects were members of the terrorist group as they were moved to the police headquarters, Abuja for interrogation.
Inspite of police assurance, there has been apprehension in the area to the extent that the people are ready to take to their heels at the slightest sound. Both Enugu Ezike and Obolo Afor are border towns between Benue and Enugu states.
As at the time of filing this report, commercial activities had resumed at the market, even as traders whose shops were looted lamented their losses.
Efforts to get the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Ebere Amarizu, could not yield any result as his phone was switched off.
But a police officer who refused to have his name in print, said the police high command was still studying the situation and would issue a statement in due course. “But the little information we got shows it was not really an explosion,” he said (DailyPost)[eap_ad_4]