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Lagos market set ablaze as Yoruba, Hausa hoodlums clash



The popular Ile-Epo Market located at Abule-Egba in Alimosho local government area of Lagos State, was on Thursday, set ablaze as violence erupted between Yoruba and Hausa hoodlums following a clash that began on Wednesday night.

Reports emanating from eyewitnesses say the clash led to several people sustaining injuries while goods and property worth millions of naira were destroyed.

According to an eyewitness, the violence erupted after a Yoruba man won a betting stake in a Baba Ijebu shop run by an Hausa man but instead of paying the winner the whole amount, the Hausa betting agent decided to withhold some of the money which led to a fight on Wednesday night.

The Hausa hoodlums who were around were said to have descended on the Yoruba man, beat him to stupor and chased others out of the market.

On Thursday morning, the Yoruba thugs reportedly mobilized and stormed the market where a free for all fight ensued with both sides wielding dangerous weapons.

A trader in the market who spoke to journalists after the situation had been brought under control, said the confrontation, which began on Wednesday night, continued unabated into Thursday morning, culminating in the arson as several shops and merchandise were set on fire by the warring hoodlums.

“It was chaos. Flames were everywhere, and all you could hear were screams and the shattering of glass,” he said.

The Lagos State Police Command spokesman, Benjamin Hundeyin who confirmed the incident in a statement, said efforts by the police to quell the unrest were met with initial resistance before the police could bring the chaos down.

“Our team was dispatched promptly, but the intensity of the mob and their hostility hampered our intervention efforts,” he said, adding that the police was investigating the cause of the fight and vowed to restore order.

A spokesperson for the Lagos State Fire Service said their truck was forced to retreat after a hostile crowd attacked it with stones when they went to put out the fire.

“We attempted to access the scene to douse the flames, but it became too dangerous to proceed,” he said.

The Lagos state government has however, closed down the market to prevent further escalation of violence while an investigation into the cause of the fracas has been launched.

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