Fun seekers in the early hours of Monday scampered to safety after armed robbers stormed Calabar Christmas Village while a popular musician, Kiss Daniel, was performing.
The robbers, whose numbers could not be ascertained, stormed the village at about 1am and shot repeatedly into the air while dispossessing people of their valuables.
It could not be confirmed if anyone was killed in the incident, but it was learnt that several people were stabbed.
It was learnt that some others, who sustained gunshot injuries, had been hospitalised.
The Calabar Christmas Village, located in the precinct of Calabar Municipal Council Secretariat, opens for 24 hours from December 1 to December 31 every year as a central location of revelry.
It was not clear if Kiss Daniel was injured, but an eyewitness said the robbers rushed to the stage while the pandemonium was on and succeeded in removing some items from the musician before he was whisked away by security operatives.
An injured shop owner in the village, Glory Andem, told Punch that the presence of robbers became obvious when some spectators started throwing bottles at the musician.
She said, “It was a serious situation and I got injured. What happened was that some guys came into the village and tried to rob Kiss Daniel when he was singing, ‘Oya talk to me o mama.’
“They were throwing bottles and other things at him. Before we knew it, they brought out guns and started shooting. Some security men immediately rushed to the singer. But even with the security, the robbers rushed at him and removed his clothes and collected things from him.
“They would have killed that guy. To be honest, I don’t know how he managed to escape. You know there are several thousands of people in the Christmas village usually and the situation led to a serious pandemonium.
“They broke up everything in my shop. They took all my money. They robbed a lot of shops. Our chairs were broken. Everybody was running at the same time. It was a terrible experience.
“Several cars were vandalised. They broke the cars to steal from them. At a point, the lights went off and I thought I was going to die. As I speak with you, I have a serious cut from the incident and I want to go to a hospital to take a tetanus injections.”
But the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Jimoh Ozi-Obeh, said it was not a robbery attack, but a misunderstanding between the organisers.
He said the original plan was that Kiss Daniel and other musicians would perform at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, but the venue was changed to the Christmas village without any notice to security agencies, leading to lack of security and what followed.