One person was killed while two houses and four cars were burnt by angry youths of Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State on Wednesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that 50 mobile policemen, 10 soldiers, eight police vans and an armoured personnel carrier were deployed to the area to quell the riot.
NAN also reported that 7,000 youths took to the streets, armed with cutlasses, axes, gallons of petrol and other dangerous weapons and chanting war songs.
No fewer than five cars were smashed by the hoodlums before the police intervention.
According to a witness, trouble started when a vigilance group started chasing four youths who were manual sand dredgers.
The witness said the youths were suspected to be smoking Indian hemp at the bank of the Otuocha stream at about 9 a.m.
“When the suspected indian hemp smokers escaped by swimming across the stream, the vigilance group pursued them until they shot dead one of them identified as Chikelu Chukwuma from Ezi-Agulu Village in Otu Aguleri.
“When the youths in the community heard about it, they went on the rampage, destroying all the houses and property of the vigilance group members,” the witness said.
The vigilance members were said to have taken refuge in Aguleri Divisional Police Station when the rampage was going on.
Addressing the restive youths, Mr. Larry Osita, Police Area Commander in Onitsha, noted that their aggression was human but that they should stop the destruction.
He pointed out that the protest could not add any benefit to the sad development.
“I am begging you to take it easy. Your grievances are okay as it shows the love existing among the people of the community.
Osita, however, met with the wife and baby of Chukwuma, consoling and assuring the family that justice would be done.
A youth leader, Chibuzor Okoye, told NAN that the youths had made their demands known to the police, which included the release of the other three youths arrested and taken to Awka.
“And we do not want the vigilance group in the community for now; they should hide themselves.