A massive explosion at the Kubwa village market, a suburb of Abuja, has claimed five lives while scores of shoppers and traders were also injured.
The explosion was believed to have been upcaused by adulterated kerosene.
The incident sparked panic as traders and shoppers ran for their lives just as the blast lifted up the kerosene tank and landed it on the roof of a shoes and bag shop which was also destroyed.
Our correspondents learnt that the incident occurred shortly before 7pm when traders were trying to close for the day.
The sudden explosion consumed two shops while many roadside traders were also affected.
Though the fire had been put out, objects believed to be woods and food items were still smouldering when our correspondents visited the scene.
The scene was also littered with vegetables, tomatoes, pepper and other produce.
Federal Road Safety Officials at the scene confirmed that five persons died while many others were wounded, adding that the victims have been taken to the Kubwa General Hospital.
Police officers at the scene blocked the access points to the explosion site and also discouraged people from gathering at the scene.
A motorcycle mechanic who witnessed the incident said, “I had just passed the scene when I learnt there was an explosion. I saw a huge fire from the kerosene tank. The tank used to be on the ground but the blast lifted it off the ground and landed it on the roof of the shoes and bags shop. I know the woman selling kerosene; I just hope she didn’t die in the explosion.”
Another eyewitness who didn’t disclose his name said he saw a baby inside the drainage after the explosion, adding that he cannot confirm if he survived the fire.
“After the explosion, as everyone was running away in fear, I saw a baby inside the gutter. The infant was later removed and taken away but I can’t confirm whether he was alive or dead because the situation was so rowdy with smoke everywhere,” he narrated.
The acting Director, Federal Capital Territory Emergency Management Agency, Mrs Florence Wenegieme said hoodlums obstructed the firefighters from doing their work.
She said, “The incident happened not quite long. I can’t tell you the cause but I can tell you that three persons have died but we are yet to take out the corpses because hoodlums have taken over the place, they also did not allow our men to do their jobs. They have parked somewhere waiting for the police to come.