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10 Apr 2018

Police inspector, four others killed as OPC, cult group clash

A police inspector and four others have been reportedly killed after a clash between some members of the Oodua People’s Congress and a cult group in the Ijebu Igbo area of Ogun State.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the fight started after a Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District at the Senate, Senator Buruji Kashamu, organised a rally in the area.

The gunfire, which reportedly started around 5.30pm on Sunday at Oke-Sopen Road, was said to have continued till the early hours of Monday, spilling to Oke-Agbo and Ojowo areas.

Residents, who spoke to our correspondents on Monday, accused a combined security team of the police, army and Vigilante Group of Nigeria, who raided the community in the aftermath of the killings, of vandalising vehicles parked by the roadsides.

The residents lamented that they had become hostages in their own houses, calling for the intervention of the government.

A source said the PDP senator held a rally which attracted a mammoth crowd into the town.

He said, “The Senator held a rally yesterday (Sunday). A fight broke out between the OPC members and some cult members in the crowd over what we do not know and they killed one another. Two OPC members and one Aiye cult member died. Another OPC member died in the early hours of Monday, bringing the casualty figure to four.”

Another resident, who asked not to be identified, said the slain police inspector and his team had tried to mediate in the fight between the warring groups.

“It was originally between Aiye cult and OPC members. The police came to mediate, but in the process, they killed an OPC member. The OPC retaliated by attacking the policemen as they both exchanged gunfire. I am aware that a policeman died and another was admitted to a hospital.”

A lawyer, Tope Akinyera, alleged that security agents burnt his vehicle.

He said, “This morning (Monday), the police and army raided the community in search of suspects. They broke down the door of my house. I just did the burial of my father and the Bedford truck that we used for the occasion, which was parked outside my house, was burnt. The officers punctured all the tyres of my vehicle and broke the glasses. They broke the louvers of my father’s house where I did the burial. They burnt my Toyota Camry.”

A trader, who identified herself only as Iya Azeez, alleged that the operatives looted her shop, adding that provisions were taken away.

“They entered my shop and took provisions, including alcoholic drinks. They took away the money I kept in the shop,” she added.

A resident, who did not give his name, claimed that some of the people arrested were innocent.

“The raid started around 11am on Monday. When the real fight happened, we were not there. We just sat in our homes. The security agencies know the OPC members responsible for the mayhem. They didn’t go after them; those suffering are the innocent residents,” he said.

Two other residents, Godwin Oglago and Ibrahim Oshigbelu, said they returned home and found their vehicles burnt.

“I took my sick wife to a hospital and just returned home to discover that my Bedford truck had been burnt. I was told the police did it,” Oshigbelu said.

A widow, Mrs. Fausat Odutayo, claimed that her son, Gbenga, who was visiting her around 1pm on Monday, was arrested, saying he was innocent.

A factional chairman of the PDP in Ogun State, Adebayo Dayo, in a statement in Abeokuta, dissociated the party from the clash.

Dayo was the chairman of the faction loyal to Senator Kashamu.

The statement read, “The attention of the Ogun State chapter of the People’s Democratic Party, has been drawn to some online/media  reports linking the renewed violence among cult groups in Ijebu Igbo, Ogun State, to the rally held on Sunday by the party in the Ijebu North Local Government Area.

“We wish to state that neither the PDP in Ogun State nor the PDP in the Ijebu North Local Government has anything to do with the renewed violence among the cult groups.

“The rally, which attracted a mammoth crowd from all the wards in the local government, was held at the Omoilu Foundation Headquarters in Ijebu Igbo, with the approval and presence of the various security agencies.

“After the crowd was addressed at the Omoilu Foundation Headquarters, party members and their supporters took a tour of the town.

“The rally ended peacefully at Oke-Sopen area of the town and everyone dispersed peacefully.

“It will be mischievous for anyone to link the renewed violence to the peaceful rally organised by our party.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the police were maintaining law and order in the town when their patrol vehicle was ambushed and attacked.

Oyeyemi said during the attack, a police inspector was shot dead, while another officer was injured.

He added that two other persons, who were members of the two warring groups, lost their lives during the clash.

He said “Some members of the OPC and Aiye cult clashed on Sunday. One OPC member was shot dead and one member of the Aiye cult was also killed.

“This morning (Monday), while our men were on routine patrol, they were ambushed by suspected hoodlums. They shot dead one police inspector and another one was seriously injured. The injured policeman is currently recuperating in a hospital.”

Oyeyemi said the command had deployed operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Police Mobile Force and Anti-Cultism unit in the troubled area.

He added that 29 suspects had been arrested while one pump-action gun and shotgun were recovered.

“Normalcy has returned to the town. We will go after the hoodlums wherever they hide; they will not go unpunished. We are still combing the town to ensure we arrest all those involved in the clash,” he said.

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