BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI — ONE person was feared dead, weekend, following the crisis that erupted at Abakpa Market along Gunning Road in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, as 28 suspects were said to have been arrested in connection with the incident by men of the Ebonyi State police command.
The incident which took place around 6:25 p.m, Vanguard learnt, was said to have been caused by an unusual traffic jam within the market environment, which hampered movement by passers-by and commuters.
The crisis within the market was said to have been triggered when a policeman who volunteered to ensure free flow of traffic accidentally shot a passer-by in the hand.
The action, Vanguard learnt, made some already agitated traders and their customers to allegedly beat up the policeman, dispossess him of his gun and injuring him in the process.
In retaliation, according to sources at the the market, a team of policemen then fired teargas into the market, arrested 28 suspects and allegedly shot a man to death.
The victim, one Ndubuisi, 22, an indigene of Ebonyi State was on his way home after closing for the day.
Speaking with Vanguard, the owner of the shop where the deceased worked, Mr. Aaron Onurah who expressed shock at police denial over the man’s death, said a petition had already been forwarded to the Commissioner of Police, CP, Saba Ndagi, as the matter had been reported to the Divisional Police Officer, Ekumeyi police station.
Contacted, the Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Sylvester Igbo who said the police had on the fateful day made frantic effort to reduce the extent of the traffic jam within the market noted that a police corporal in the process was attacked, 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.”