Three people were killed on Saturday, August 26, 2017 in a protest by Owerri natives following the demolition of the Eke Onunwa market on the orders of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State.
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, could not confirm the casualty as he is out of the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the situation escalated when one of the protesters, a young man, was hit and killed by a stray bullet fired by security operatives deployed to maintain order in the melee which ensued after the demolition.
Following the death of the protesters, Owerri natives proceeded to set fire to the property belonging to some residents.
Unrests escalated leading to the killing of two more people by bullets fired by security agencies, eyewitnesses say.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state had issued an evacuation order to the traders, advising them to relocate to a new site to make way for development at the market site.
The efforts were resisted by the natives of the area who resisted the relocation of the market by the state government.
Despite a court order blocking the planned exercise by the Imo State government, the market was demolished in the middle of the night by bulldozers already stationed at the scene despite the efforts of the natives.
Military and police personnel have been deployed in Owerri to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
Click on any image to enlarge. Warning: Some of the images in this story are of a very graphic nature.