Odo-Owa vs Iloffa: Four killed in communal clash in Kwara
*Situation now under control
Four people, including a graduate, were feared dead on Thursday following a crisis that erupted between two restive neighbours: Iloffa and Odo-Owa community in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The two interwoven communities have had a long history of communal clashes. In the latest one, scores of victims with gunshot injuries were said to have been rushed to various hospitals for treatment. As it has become usual, many houses were allegedly razed in the crisis.
An unidentified graduate was said to have accompanied his wife to the market when he was allegedly hit by a stray bullet. Investigation gathered by eye witness accounts told www.gongnews.net that the crisis, which started around 7a.m., erupted from a market bordering the two communities resulting in sporadic gunshots.
The market was said to have been a subject of age-long clashes and bone of contention between the two neighbouring communities. It would be recalled that similar crisis erupted between the two communities about two years ago in which several burial sites, houses and a National Security and Civil Defence Corps office were touched.
Many residents of the warring communities were said to have relocated to other communities in Imode and Egosi as fighting rages.
A source, said that the recent crisis escalated following disagreement on who is authorised to first sell yams belonging to leaders of the two communities at the said market.
Historians claimed that there was an age-long tradition that one of the traditional rulers from the two communities would finish selling his yams at the disputed market before others sell theirs.
According to the source, “I think that authority was challenged by a community leader from the opposing community during Wednesday’s market and an argument ensued.
“I was inside the market when an argument ensued between some people on who should first sell yams at the market. Within the twinkle of an eye the argument degenerated and there were sporadic gunshots from different direction and we scampered to safety,” the source added. Meanwhile, Mr Ajayi Okasanmi, the Police Spokesperson in Kwara, while confirming the development, however, said the command was yet to ascertain the number of casualties. He said that some detachment of police patrol team had been deployed to the crisis scene to maintain law and order.
As at today, the two communities have a heavy security presence. Situation seems to have calmed down. People travelling through the community had easy access to go their ways.