An eyewitness disclosed to on Thursday evening, that the root cause of the clash was a debt owed to a Hausa trader by an Igbo butcher.
The lender was said to have called a soldier, also Hausa, to help him retrieve his money from the debtor.
In the process of trying to get the money from the Igbo butcher, the soldier was reported to have shot him in the back and he died on the spot.
The eyewitness further revealed that the soldier tried to take the body away but a gathered mob prevented him from carrying out his escape. This led to a protest by butchers in Aba, who got violent and went on a killing spree of Hausa shoemakers and any Hausa person in sight.
The butchers took their protest to an area called 7up junction in Ogbor Hill where they mounted barricades and constituted further violence.
The Abia state government today released a statement reacting to yesterday's clash at the Ariaria market where three persons were killed following a fight between Hausa and Igbo traders. The statement released and signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Godwin Adindu, says that a soldier who shot and killed a trader during the clash has been arrested. Read the statement below..
1. Our dear brothers and sisters, It is with heavy hearts that the state government received reports of the unfortunate incident at Aba abattoir today. Initial information made available to us indicate that the violence was sparked off by a solider who killed a meat-seller at the popular waterside abattoir located at the Ogbohill area of Aba.
2. We condemn the dastardly act that led to the untimely death of our brother, father and bread winner of his family. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends in this moment of pains and loss, even as we also commiserate with the traders at the market and others who were affected by the ensuing crisis.
3. The solider who allegedly perpetrated this act has been arrested and taken into custody. He will surely face the full weight of the law.
4. We call on the good people of Abia, especially those of us living and doing business at Aba, to remain claim. We reassure all citizens and residents of the state that the government is doing everything to protect lives and property of citizens as well as prevent further disruption of peace.
5. The Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has instructed the recently re-equipped security agencies in the state to ensure watertight security around our borders and towns against any form of attack.
6. He has also directed the men of the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS) to commence, with immediate effect, a two week intensive training, for onward deployment to our communities to assist in community policing under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police.
7. All Traditional Rulers in the state have been directed to submit names of 10 able-bodied youths from their community to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs from Tuesday 10th toWednesday 11th May 2016. These youths will be enlisted into the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS) to further boost community policing in the state.
8. Law enforcement agencies have been mandated to search and monitor all trucks and vehicles conveying livestocks, food items and persons into the state from any part of the country with a view to preventing inter-state movement of arms and terrorists. The law enforcement agencies will also search and monitor markets and settlements where livestocks and dealers are located, to ensure security.
9. The Governor of Abia State has approved the constitution of a Farmers/Herdsmen Conflict Resolution Committee. The Commissioner of Police will head the committee at the state level. Other members of the committee are: The Brigade Commander, State Director of DSS, State Commandant of the NSCDC, the Naval Commander, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Duties, State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Myati Allah cattle dealers representative and Sarikin Hausawa.
10. The State Governor has also directed the constitution of Farmers/Herdsmen Conflict Resolution Committees in the 17 Local Government Areas of the state. The Local Government chairmen will head the committees in their LGAs. Other members of the committees include; Divisional Police Officers in the LGAs, Local Government NSCDC heads, the DSS Local Government Chiefs, LGA Chairmen of Traditional Rulers Council and LGA Heads of Hausa communities.
11. We wish to encourage our people to be vigilant and report any suspicious movement or activities of strange persons within our communities to the Traditional Rulers or call any of the following Police Emergency Control phone numbers: 08079210003, 08079210004, 08079210005, 08035425405 for prompt deployment of a Rapid Response Unit formed for the purpose of dealing with security alerts.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor