No fewer than 12 persons sustained various degrees of burns following an explosion which rocked a Hausa settlement known as Kara market along Atani road, Ogbaru near Onitsha in Anambra.
An eyewitness and leader of the settlement, Mr Sabo Mohammed told Nigerian Pilot yesterday that the incident occurred at a restaurant in the market at about 8:30pm on May 3.
Mohammed said the explosion might have resulted 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 jerry cans behind.
“Some minutes later, one of the jerry cans exploded leaving many people injured.
“The victims got severe burns that you cannot even hold their skin to carry them to hospital,” Mohammed said.
Another eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, described the incident as “unfortunate”.
The source disclosed that the victims were taken to five hospitals namely Good News Hospital and Chioma Clinic both in Ogbaru; Toronto hospital and Borromew hospital in Onitsha, and the General Hospital at Asaba, Delta.
According to the source, it has been a peaceful market until yesterday.
“We are now disorganised and afraid of what may happen next,” the source said.
The eyewitness urged the state government to provide adequate security in the area and help pay the bills of the victims who are receiving treatments in various hospitals.
Narrating her ordeal, one of the victims, Mrs Mariam Mohammed who was receiving treatment at Good News hospital, Ogbaru, 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 I realized I was affected too,” she said.
An Assistant Doctor at the hospital, Dr Joseph Evbomemen said Mohammed suffered degrees of burns on the body but 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 Borrome hospital and started treating the woman.
“We had to remove the surface skin but she has improved.
“The first day is inflammation with swollen body parts but by tomorrow or next she may normalise,” Evbomemen said, adding that the explosion affected Mohammed’s limbs and skull.
Confirming the incident, DSP Ali Okechukwu, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state Police Command said the explosion was as a result of fuel stored in a jerry can for future use.
“The explosion was not from bomb as been speculated by people.
“A jerry can of petrol that was brought to the settlement exploded around the area and some people sustained various degrees of burns.
“They were taken to various hospitals and are currently receiving treatment. No death was recorded,” Okechukwu said.