At least four people were killed in a clash between cattle dealers and members of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Ajase, Irepodun Local Government of Kwara State, on Friday.
Some commercial vehicles and passengers plying the area were caught in the melee that lasted for hours.
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Traders residents hurriedly closed their shops and scampered for safety as guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons were freely used during the incident.
Fulani leaders in Ilorin East, Ali and Ilesha Baruba, said they had been inundated with calls from their members over the matter.
It is unclear what actually led to the crisis but there were different accounts.
According to a source, trouble started after a cattle dealer who was crossing the road was almost hit by a bus conveying OPC members.
“On market day, the place is a very busy area and care is needed in crossing the road. But on this occasion, the Fulani trader in the market was almost hit and in anger, he attacked one of the OPC men in the vehicle. OPC members in the vehicle then descended on him.”
“But his colleagues moved in and the OPC members reinforced by informing several others in different vehicles. The pandemonium led to killing, maiming and destruction of vehicles with several motorcycles.
“There were close to 10 dead bodies and others chased themselves into the bush, we don’t know about their fate now,” a resident who simply identified himself as Al-Hassan, said.
Another resident who didn’t want his name published told Daily Trust that the traders and some cow sellers had a misunderstanding in the market.
“But it spread to the major road. The OPC members who were coming from Osun festival in Osogbo got to Ajase-Ipo and ran into the traffic jam. Some of them got down from their vehicle and rushed towards the market area. It was in that process that we started hearing the sound of gun. Machetes and other dangerous objects were also used during the clash,” the resident said.
In a statement, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Ajayi Okasanmi, confirmed the incident but put the casualty at four.
He added that crisis broke out after a cow destroyed the side mirror of a vehicle conveying OPC members.
“OPC members in a convoy of about twenty vehicles believed to be coming from Osun Osogbo festival, Osun state, were passing through the Kara market where a cow being led across the road by its handler broke the side mirror of one of the OPC vehicles.
“This resulted in an argument that eventually escalated into an exchange of gunfire by both the OPC members and the cow dealers in the market. Four lifeless bodies of unidentified persons were recovered at the scene,” he said.
The Police spokesman said the four unidentified corpse have been evacuated from the scene and deposited at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) mortuary while those injured have been taken to a hospital in Ajase-Ipo for medical treatment.
He said normalcy had been restored while policemen have been deployed in the area to prevent further break down of law and order.
When contacted Saturday morning, National President of OPC, Alhaji Maroof Olarewaju, said it was the Gani Adams faction of the OPC that was involved in the matter.