One person was at the weekend feared dead, following the crisis that erupted at Abakpa Market along Gunning Road in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.
28 suspects were said to have been arrested in connection with the incident by men of the Ebonyi State police command.
It was gathered that around 6:25 p.m, an unusual traffic jam within the market environment hampered movement of passers-by and commuters, and a policeman offered to help clear the traffic. Unfortunately, his gun went off and a passer-by was accidentally shot in the hand.
Some agitated traders and their customers allegedly beat up the policeman, dispossess him of his gun, injuring him in the process.
Market sources said a team of policemen were later at the market to retaliate, firing teargas into the market, and arrested 28 suspects, also allegedly shooting a man dead.
The victim was identified as a 22-year-old indigene of Ebonyi State, Ndubuisi, who was on his way home after closing for the day. The police denied killing him.
In his reaction, the owner of the shop where the deceased worked, Mr. Aaron Onurah expressed shock at police denial over the man’s death, saying a petition had already been forwarded to the Commissioner of Police, Saba Ndagi, as the matter had been reported to the Divisional Police Officer, Ekumeyi police station.
Telling the police’s side of the story, Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Sylvester Igbo said the police had on the fateful day made frantic effort to reduce the extent of the traffic jam within the market, but a police corporal was attacked in the process, his gun taken away, while a police patrol vehicle was allegedly smashed by the aggrieved traders.
“Two persons attacked the police Corporal and were struggling to take away his gun; in the process the gun went off and injured a passer-by, then the traders attacked the policemen.
“One was badly injured and his gun taken away by his attackers and they smashed the police vehicle.
“The injured policeman is placed on intensive medical care at the police clinic in Abakaliki and the other at the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, FETHA. 28 suspects have been arrested.
“I appeal for calm and promise to get to the root and the public will be updated as soon as new facts emerge.”