Ihuoma Chiedozie, Enugu
Two persons lost their lives in a bloody clash between Igbo and Fulani at the popular Gariki Market, in Enugu.
The incident occurred on Wednesday night.
Our correspondent learnt, during a visit to the market on Thursday, that the deceased persons had been identified as Ali, a Fulani, and Ifeacho Ifeanyi, an Igbo.
It was equally gathered that the clash was triggered by a disagreement over N100.
Eyewitnesses, who narrated what happened, disclosed that trouble started when, late on Wednesday evening, the said Ali, whose surname could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, came to slaughter a cow at an abattoir located in the Gariki Market.
It was gathered that Ali hitherto slaughtered his cows at an abattoir in the New Artisan Market, in Enugu metropolis.
The eyewitnesses explained that Ali had to patronise the abattoir at Gariki Market after the New Artisan Market was closed by the Enugu State Government following the killing of a policeman by a mob of tricycle or Keke NAPEP, riders.
Ifeanyi, who normally helped people to slaughter their cows for a fee at the abattoir in Gariki Market, slaughtered the cow brought by Ali.
Our correspondent further gathered that the fee for slaughtering a cow at the abattoir was N500, but Ali paid Ifeanyi N400 for the job.
The development was said to have infuriated Ifeanyi, who demanded the remaining N100.
Ali refused to pay the outstanding sum.
The dispute between the two men over the said N100 soon turned violent, and in the ensuing fight, Ali allegedly brought out a dagger and stabbed Ifeanyi severally in the stomach, spilling his intestines.
Ifeanyi slumped and died on the spot.
But Ali met his own end immediately, as Igbo traders, who were enraged at the development, caught him as he tried to escape and beat him to death.
The irate Igbo traders went further by burning a mosque located inside the Gariki Market, where the large population of northerners in the market worships.
Our correspondent gathered that the crisis would have further degenerated and resulted in the burning of shops and loss of more lives, had a team of riot policemen not arrived at the market to bring the crisis under control.
During the visit to the market on Thursday, our correspondent observed some police patrol vans stationed at strategic locations.
The spokesman for the Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the development, said the police had restored normalcy in the market and its environs.
He said the police was on the ground to prevent further breakdown of law and order.
Amaraizu added that the police were investigating the incident.
“Two persons were confirmed dead yesterday (on Wednesday) in the course of a clash between an easterner and a northerner over a misunderstanding that arose between them in the evening at Gariki Awkunanaw Market.
“Security has been beefed up in the area by the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Douglas Agbonleni, to avoid escalation and breakdown of law and order.
“A full-scale investigation has commenced into the incident,” Amaraizu said.
Meanwhile, our correspondent also gathered that Igbo and Hausa/Fulani traders in the market were engaged in peace talks, as of the time of filing this report.
On December 17, an Igbo policeman, one Corporal Gabriel Ugwu, of the Anti-Cult Unit of the Enugu State Police Command, was clubbed to death in the New Artisan market by a mob of tricycle riders, who were mostly northerners. (Punchng.com)