SAD: 8 killed in Ifon – Ilobu communal clash, residents flee

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About eight people were feared killed in a communal clash involving the people of Ilobu and Ifon communities in Osun State on Thursday.

Those killed were said to have been hit by stray bullets fired by the security operatives deployed to the affected communities, following the resumption of hostilities.

When our correspondent visited the area Thursday afternoon, both Ilobu and Ifon could not be accessed by even some of the security operatives, as they stayed at the entrance to the two communities.

The Otun-Jagun of Ilobu, Chief Leke Ogunsola, who spoke to newsmen on behalf of Ilobu community said four lives, including a baby, had been lost to the crisis on the side of the town.
He also lamented the refusal of the security agents deployed to go into the areas in the two communities.

“The government intervention is not enough because of security agencies that were drafted to the area stationed themselves at Ojutu bridge. They didn’t enter the town where the clashes happened. So far, from Ilobu community, we have recorded four fatalities including a baby,” Ogunsola said.

The casualty figure on the side of Ifon people could not be immediately obtained but pictures of four different corpses allegedly hit by stray bullets of security agents were sent to our correspondent by the residents of the town.

The Secretary, Ifon-Orolu Progressive Union, Board of Trustees, Prince Jide Akinyooye, who addressed journalists on behalf of the Ifon community, said several houses were razed during the attack on the town.

He said, “The gazette that ceded parts of the land belonging to Ifon to Ilobu during Rauf Aregbesola’s regime has been causing the crisis. We are in danger. We have tried to avoid reprisal but the refusal of the police to act may lead to another thing. Several houses were burnt.”

Meanwhile, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has directed that none of the two communities should be seen near the disputed land.

Speaking at the ‘Ipade Imole’ – a public enlightenment programme organised by his administration held in Osogbo on Thursday, Adeleke said, “I have given a directive that nobody should be seen on the disputed land. Anybody they see there should be arrested and prosecuted. The state government has taken over the disputed land.

“The kings and leaders should come together. By the time the government takes over all your land, reality will dawn on you. I have informed the Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja, who hails from Ilobu. We have given a standing order to the soldiers to be in charge.”

As a result of the crises, many residents of Ilobu and Ifon communities have fled their houses.
During our correspondent’s visit to Ojutu Area of Ilobu on Thursday, residents of Ilobu and Ifon were observed moving out of the affected areas in large numbers.

Our correspondent also observed that corps members serving in the affected areas were being evacuated by the state government.
Soldiers, operatives of the Department of State Security, and police operatives were seen at the entrance to the two communities.

Osun Police Command spokesperson, Yemisi Opalola, while commenting on the situation in the two towns, said, “They burnt a new patrol van of police yesterday (Wednesday).

“They alleged us of taking a side. It is unfortunate that the Monitoring Section van that was donated to us was burnt. Our four men are in hospital now, they were shot. The Divisional Police Officer of Ilobu was among those who were shot. He was shot in the hand. But thanks to God, they are all responding to treatment.

They ambushed policemen when our men attempted to broker peace in the area.”

Osun state government has since declared a curfew on the two local government areas of Irepodun and Orolu local government areas to prevent escalation.

Bola Bamigbola

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