Police question two monarchs as new yam war kills four in Kwara
By Demola Akinyemi
The two feuding monarchs of Iloffa and Odo-Owa in Oke-Ero local government areas of Kwara State, now under surveillance of security agencies, would not have engaged in avoidable acrimony over who has the right to first sell new yam in the market, looking back at the gargantuan calamities that befell the two communities in the five days the crisis lasted.
Sunday Vanguard gathered that one of the monarchs had felt insulted that the other he considered junior in status had the boldness to first sell new yam in the market in the buffer zone between the two communities without his consent, and then hell was let loose.
Though the state commissioner of police, Mr Lawan Ado, confirmed one dead in the communal crisis, Sunday Vanguard understood that four persons, including a man, who had accompanied his wife to buy yam in the market were killed.
Also, no fewer than 20 houses were razed by irate youths of both communities.
Kwara State Police Command interrogated the Odo-Owa and Iloffa monarchs twice penultimate week over the communal clash. Also, the state government imposed curfew on the two communities to restore peace in the area while the police claimed they had arrested one person who could lead to the arrest of others behind the disturbance. The police had requested from the monarchs the cause of the hostilities and cautioned them after their release to return to their communities and ensure peace.
The state commissioner of police, Ado, had visited the warring communities, penultimate weekend, to assess the extent of damage.
The two monarchs, Oba Joshua Oloruntoba, the Adimula of Odo-Owa, and Oba Samuel Niyi Dada of Ilofa, had allegedly fled their palaces following gun battle between the youths of the feuding communities from the morning of the day of mayhem till the afternoon when soldiers were drafted to quell the trouble. Soldiers from Sobi Barracks Ilorin were still keeping vigil at the warring communities at press time.
Iloffa was said to have had the highest number of damaged properties while two buildings were torched in Odo-Owa. Sunday Vanguard also learnt that most of those who died were natives of Odo-Owa.
The senator representing Kwara South, Rafiu Ibrahim, commiserated with the victims of the communal clash and urged the warring communities to embrace dialogue on contentious issues. Meanwhile, the state government has suspended all activities related to yam festival in the Oke Ero area. It also raised a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the disturbance. A statement by the Secretary to State Government Alhaji Isiaka Sola Gold quoted Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed as saying he will bring the full weight of the law to bear on any individual who may have been part of the communal crisis.
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