Three people were killed in Owerri, Imo state, South East Nigeria on Saturday when some youths protested against the demolition of the main market commonly called Eke Onunwa in the capital, by the Imo Government.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state Mr Andrew Enwerem, however, said he could not confirm the deaths.
It was learnt that a boy of 12 years was allegedly killed by a stray bullet fired by security operatives deployed to maintain order in the area.
The death of the minor who hawks petty items at the market escalated the situation and subsequently two others died.
The state government had issued an evacuation order to the traders and advised them to relocate to a new site to make way for development at the market site.
Efforts of the government to relocate the market from the city centre to decongest the area have been resisted by Owerri indigenes who regard the market as their ancestral heritage.
The people had instituted a court case against the government over the matter.
However, the market was demolished in the night in spite of the resistance of the natives.
Following the protest, the state capital was heavily guarded by the military and police to forestall further breakdown of law and order.