The popular Christmas Village in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, on Christmas Day was in chaos as armed robbers mobbed and robbed vendors and their customers.
A popular musician, Kiss Daniel, was on the stage performing when the robbers struck. shooting severally into the air.
The Christmas Village, which is located in the Calabar Municipal Council grounds, witnessed panic as several injured persons were taken to the hospital. It could not be confirmed if anyone was killed.
People usually pay rent to the state government to operate shops in the village for the one-month (December 1-December 31) end of year activities.
The incident occurred just before midnight while the artiste was performing.
A shop owner, who sold food at the village, Glory Akpan, said: “I was wounded. Some boys came into the village and tried to rob that guy, who sings “Oya talk to me o Mama” (Kiss Daniel), while he was performing. They threw bottles and other dangerous objects at him. They later brought out guns and began to shoot sporadically.
The robbers attacked him and removed his clothes. They would have killed him. I don’t know how he survived that night.
“There were thousands of people in the Christmas Village and the situation caused pandemonium. They broke everything in my shop. They carried all my money and robbed many shops. Our chairs were broken. Everybody ran helter-skelter.
“Cars were smashed. They broke some cars to steal from them. At a point, the lights went off and I thought I was going to die. There were missing children and parents and kids ran in different directions.”
She continued: “After the incident, we were too afraid to go back to our shops and we had to sleep at a tent located inside the council. Someone collected N500 from each person to spend the night there. We slept on bare floor.
“Someone even stole my pot of melon soup, which was on fire. This is the first time such a thing would happen since the beginning of the Christmas festival. I am not sure I will come next year.”