.File photo for illustration only. –
The Kara Market along Atani Road, Ogbaru near Onitsha in Anambra state was rocked by an explosion late on Tuesday.
The Anambra Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ali Okechukwu, who confirmed the incident, said at least 12 people sustained injuries from the incident, adding that the explosion was caused by fuel stored in a jerrycan for future use.
“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 some hospitals and are currently receiving treatment. No death was recorded,” he said.
Okechukwu said the police 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.
A witness and leader of the settlement identified as Sambo Mohammed, told News Agency of Nigeria that the incident occurred at a restaurant in the market, alleging 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,” he said.
Narrating her ordeal, one of the victims, Mariam Mohammed, who is receiving treatment at one of the hospitals, said she was washing dishes at the restaurant when the explosion occurred.
“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 said.
The settlement, formerly a cattle market, harbours artisans, labourers, onions and poultry dealers.