By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Four people, including a university graduate, were feared dead on Thursday in a bloody clash between two neighbouring communities, Ilofa and Odo-Owa, in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara state, while scores who sustained gunshot injuries were said to have been rushed to an undisclosed hospital for treatment. Also, in the ensuing melee, many houses were allegedly torched.
The unidentified graduate was said to have accompanied his wife to the market when he was allegedly hit by a stray bullet.
It was gathered that the bloody clash which started around 7am erupted from a market bordering the two communities, resulting in sporadic gunshots. The market was said to have been a subject of controversy and friction for long between the two neighbouring communities.
It would be recalled that a similar crisis erupted between the two communities about two years ago in which several burial sites, houses and the National Security and Civil Defense 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 who pleaded for anonymity said the latest crisis erupted following disagreements between the two communities on which community was authorised to first sell yams in the market which belong to the two communities.
It was gathered that it has been 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.
Said the source “I think that authority was challenged by a community leader from the opposing community during today’s market and an argument ensued.”
“I was inside the market when an argument ensued among some people on who should first sell yams at the market.
“In a twinkle of an eye the argument degenerated and there were sporadic gunshots from different directions and we scampered for safety”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Kwara state Police Spokesperson, Ajayi Okasanmi, while confirming the development, however, said the command was yet to ascertain the number of casualties.
He said a detachment of police patrol team has been deployed in the crisis scene to maintain law and order.