From Sunny DAVIDS/Awka:
It has been confirmed that four persons have been feared dead following an explosion at the Chemical Market in Onitsha Local Government Area of Anambra State on Tuesday and the market closed down on Wednesday.
Twelve persons were also said to have sustained various degrees of injury, with goods and properties worth millions of naira destroyed during the inferno.
Our correspondent gathered that after the explosion occurred at about 12:45 pm, a stampede ensued at the market as traders fled to safety.
According to eyewitnesses, traders opened their shops for their daily business activities when a loud explosion, like a bomb blast, was heard. Thick smoke was said to be coming from many shops and pandemonium ensued as the chemical products are highly inflammable.
When contacted via the telephone, the Police Public Relations Officer in the State, DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, said the casualty figure was yet to be ascertained.
The Police Spokesman said there were reports that more people have been killed, but he has not been properly briefed on the incident.
However, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, DCP John Ogbodoaga, has taken charge of the area and the fire service team was also on the ground.
Similarly, Policemen from the Fegge Divisional Police Station led by CSP Rabiu Garuba, were deployed to the market to guarantee the security of goods and other properties belonging to the traders