The presence of soldiers in Abia State to prosecute the ongoing Operation Python Dance II has spread panic across the area with residents relocating.
Following a resurgence of crisis in Aba, Abia, on Thursday, some residents have remained indoors while others are leaving the city in fear.
In areas around Uratta Junction, Ariaria Junction, Tonimas Junction and Flyover Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, some people were seen carrying loads and waiting for vehicles to leave town.
Some northern youths gathered around Ariaria Junction carrying sticks and stones and so were some Igbo youths. At Bakassi Bus Stop on the expressway, policemen threw tear-gas canisters at some youths who gathered at a nearby street.
There were unsubstantiated reports of killings and shootings in different parts of the city which has helped in heightening tension. Dr. Uchenna Anyanwu, Medical Director, Holy Wounds Hospital, Faulks Road, Aba, said that two persons suspected to have been shot in Ariaria area were brought in dead to his hospital.
He told newsmen that a mob, who believed he was on the side of the police came to his hospital and destroyed his office because he accepted to treat some injured persons. Anyanwu said that two injured persons were being treated in his hospital. He wondered why the mob should vandalise his hospital when he was saving lives.
At the city centre, shop owners closed their businesses, while commercial banks halted their operations. Banks, including First Bank branches at Abayi and Asa Road, Skye Bank on St. Michael’s Road, Union Bank and Ecobank on Factory Road remained closed. Only Heritage Bank close to Ochendo Motor Park was open but with heavy security presence.
NAN learnt that the closed banks received instructions from their state headquarters offices to close and watch events. Ariaria Market which had been opening for skeletal sales since Wednesday was shut on Thursday morning following an alleged attack on the Ariaria Police Station by unknown persons.
Meanwhile, every major junction on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway within Aba has been occupied by military men. Neither the Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Leye Oyabode, nor the Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Geoffry Ogbonna, could respond to inquiries on the situation.