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Onitsha market explosion injures 12 persons





MASSOB denies reprisal attack against Hausa
An explosion, which occurred at Kara market within a Hausa settlement along Atani road, Ogbaru near Onitsha, in Anambra State on Tuesday, left no fewer than 12 persons seriously injured.

It was gathered that the victims are receiving treatment at various hospitals in Onitsha and General Hospital, Asaba, Delta State.

An eyewitness account and leader of the settlement, Sabo Mohammed alleged that the explosion might have been from a bomb brought into a restaurant in the market by an unknown person at about 8:30pm on May 3.

According to the witness, an unidentified boy had walked into a restaurant with three jerry cans, demanding for food. But he left almost immediately without eating the food while leaving the jerry cans behind.

Mohammed said few minutes later, one of the jerry cans exploded adding, “The victims got severe burns that you cannot even hold their skin to carry them to hospital.”

Narrating her ordeal, one of the victims, Mrs Mariam Mohammed, who is now receiving treatment at a hospital in Ogbaru, said she was washing dishes at the restaurant when the explosion occurred.

A Doctor at one of the hospitals, Dr Joseph Evbomemen, confirmed that Mohammed suffered degrees of burns on the body and was responding to treatment.

“The patient is now stable unlike yesterday that she was disoriented. They brought in two patients; this woman and one other boy, but the boy was badly injured, so we referred him to Borromew hospital and started treating the woman. We had to remove the surface skin but she has improved,” he said.

Another eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, described the incident as ‘unfortunate’, and urged the state government to provide adequate security in the area and help pay the bills of the victims.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Anambra State, Ali Okechukwu, who confirmed the incident, however said the explosion was as a result of fuel stored in a jerry can for future use, and not from bomb as been speculated by people.

He said a jerry can of petrol that was brought into the settlement exploded around the area and some people sustained various degrees of burns.

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has clarified that Ndigbo should not interpret the explosion as an attack against the Hausa community in Onitsha.

It also said it should not be seen as a way of inciting Ndigbo against the Hausa people with whom they have been living peacefully in Southeast.

In a statement released yesterday by leader of MASSOB, Uchenna Madu, he said no Biafra agitating group would involve itself in any reprisal attack against the Hausa community.

He assured the Hausa/Fulani residents in the Southeast, who may be jittery over the killing of their brothers and sisters in Enugu State, of their safety.

He however strongly warned members of Boko Haram insurgents and their Fulani herdsmen counterparts, to desist from causing harm to the people in the Southeast.

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