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JUST IN: Two youths set shops ablaze in Delta

Two youths clad in black caftans in the early hours of Monday allegedly set ablaze a building housing eight shops along Palm-Groove Road in Warri, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Palm Grove is less than a 10-minute walk from B’ Division of the Warri Area Command of the Delta State Police Command.

The arsonists, projected to be in their 20s, carried out the dastardly act at about 3:00 a.m., according to an eyewitness.

The marauders reportedly fled the scene after pouring gasoline on the building and setting it on fire with a lighter.

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The building, with its shops containing goods and other valuables worth millions of naira, was burned down to its foundation.

Distressed owners of the shops, who had arrived at the scene to behold their destroyed livelihoods in the early year, were sighted sobbing and wailing uncontrollably.

One of the victims and owner of an eatery, who woke up around 3:00 a.m. as a result of an initial petrol smell, narrated how he saw the arsonists carrying out the wicked act and fleeing the scene immediately.

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“I smelled some petrol odour in the early hours of today around 3:00 a.m. And I was wondering because I don’t use fuel.

“Worried, I rushed outside to see where the odour was coming from. Then I saw two boys in black caftan throw fire into the shops,” the witness, who declined to be identified while speaking in pidgin, narrated.

Meanwhile, sympathisers were still gathered and discussing in hushed voices at the scene as of 7:00 a.m. when our reporter visited the scene.

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Smoke was still belching from the torched building harbouring the shops and the charred goods and other valuables as the shop owners and neighbours continued to wonder the motive of the arsonists.

Fire incidences in markets and shops across Warri are common sights, especially in the early period of every year, as victims have consistently accused hoodlums and agents of darkness of plunging them into debt while security agencies look the other way in investigating and apprehending the actors.

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