There was palpable fear in Aba, the commercial nerve of Abia State on Thursday as gunshots rent the air of the economic city, forcing vehicular and human activities to a halt for several hours.
While the reasons for the sporadic gunshots witnessed around Bata junction, Aba Area Command of the Nigeria Police Station and other parts of the city were yet to be ascertained, it was however gathered that personnel of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) office of the Commissioner of Police, attached to the Aba Area Command who were on reinforcement smashed and destroyed cars belong to private and commercial transport companies and owners.
Our correspondent gathered that not less than 15 vehicles were smashed by the CP SWAT Squad.
At the popular Aba General Motor Park located at Milverton, security operatives stationed in the area reportedly forced people to hold their hands in the air while passing through the area.
Shops at popular phone market at St. Michael’s road including Hospital and Jubilee roads were forced to close for business.
Cars were also barred from accessing the roads leading to the Aba Area Command as the police authority using improvised metals, mounted road blocks on the road.
The roads leading to the Aba Correctional facility (located close to Aba Area Command) was closed to traffic in a proactive measure to forestall any attack on the facility.
A resident of Jubilee road told our correspondent that some personnel of the Nigeria Police Force numbering five asked them to close their shops to avoid being caught in the web of any possible unrest.
A source around Ama Ogbonna area while narrating the incident that caused panic and forced many shop owners to close abruptly said “we learnt that some personnel of SWAT came to arrest someone at Ama Ogbonna area.
“They said that they were attacked. While the said attack was on, the police personnel were said to have called for reinforcement. Their colleagues, on arriving at the scene, started damaging vehicles and shooting sporadically into the air.
“The incident caused confusion as many ran for their safety. Some of the youths and car owners angered by the situation, blocked the Azikiwe Axis of the Eziukwu road to protest the police brutality.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Geoffrey Ogbonna couldn’t take his calls and was yet to reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone at the time of filing the report.
Business is gradually returning to the city, except St. Michaels, Jubilee and Hospital road area, while Aba-Owerri road is witnessing gridlock as it is the only road accessible to commuters going entering and exiting the town including those going to Ariaria International Market.
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Pictures below showing some of the cars smashed by SWAT personnel.