At least three people have been killed in Aba, Abia State, in clashes that started at the popular Ariaria Market, several witnesses have told Premium Times.
The clashes began in the afternoon mostly between Igbo traders and their Hausa counterparts, they said.
One witness said the crisis started after a member of the Hausa community stabbed and killed an Igbo trader who reprimanded him for urinating near his store.
Other Igbo traders rounded the assailant and lynched him, the witness said.
His account could not be independently verified by journalists.
But other witnesses and residents said news of the incident spread to other parts of the town and a mob gathered and attacked the Hausa community around the abattoir located at Ogbor Hill area of Aba.
“From that point matters degenerated. Soldiers in nearby barrack are shooting and at least one Igbo trader was hit and killed by a bullet,” the witness recounted.
Reacting to the crisis, the spokesperson for the Abia State Police, Onyeka Ezekiel, said he had received reports of “pockets of demonstrations.”
He however declined to give further details.
“I’m on my way to Aba with the commissioner to see things for ourselves so I cannot tell you the groups involved or if there were casualties until I get there. Call me back in two hours and I will be able to give you more details,” he said.