At least five persons were on Wednesday stabbed after indigenes of Owerri Municipal Council clashed with suspected thugs allegedly imported from the Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of the state to enforce the demolition of the Owerri Main Market.
The clash caused panic in the state capital, making some traders and motorists to flee to safety.
The motorists abandoned their cars, while the shop owners had to flee to safety without closing shops.
Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that trouble started when the suspected thugs and the indigenes started exchanging words.
It was gathered that the argument degenerated into a free-for-all.
A resident, who gave her name simply as Chika, said, “One person was stabbed in my presence. He was stabbed in the head. I had to run, abandoning the things that I bought.”
She disclosed that the warring groups used knives and other weapons against one another.
The clash, our correspondent gathered, extended to Wethrawal Road, Control Post Roundabout and some parts of Port Harcourt Road.
It took the effort of operatives of the state police command, led by the Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, to restore normalcy in the area.
The policemen that followed the police commissioner to the market were said to have used tear gas to disperse the warring parties.
Ezike later told our correspondent on Thurday that five persons were injured during the clash.
He said, “It was a clash between the youths who were in support of the market demolition and those against it.
“We had to call for reinforcement for normalcy to return in the state capital.”
Ezike added that the state was safe and ready for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.