THERE was chaos in Igangan community in Ibarapa North Local Government Area of Oyo State in the early hours of Sunday when suspected Fulani herdsmen attacked residents, killing about 11 natives, while several houses, shops, a petrol station and the palace of the traditional ruler of the community were razed.
The killings brought about condemnation from well-meaning Nigerians. Nigerian Tribune gathered that the attackers, who came in vehicles and motorcycles, were heavily armed with sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 rifles, machine guns, axes and machetes and caught residents unawares.
Narrating the incident to Nigerian Tribune, a resident of Igangan, Musa Lawal, said the hoodlums stormed the town at about 10:45 p.m. on Saturday night and unleashed mayhem till about 3 a.m on Sunday.
Lawal said: “It was like a war. They started shooting people, burning houses and shops located on the streets, including a filling station. It was a horrible attack. We had to run into the bush to escape. But they caught up with some people and brutally killed them.
“The attack was premeditated. Almost all the residents of Igangan sought refuge in the bush. We called security agencies but they didn’t respond to our distress calls. Only our local hunters, who were employed as members of Amotekun security corps, confronted the Fulani herdsmen.
“They killed more than 30 people here. The families of those slain had to carry their corpses when we came out of the bush this morning (Sunday); I personally counted 14 corpses which I sighted.
“The police didn’t show up at all while the attack lasted. Only the Amotekun security corps members came out to face the Fulani herdsmen. They are our local hunters who were recruited into Amotekun. Some of the attackers, who were wounded, were taken away by their people. “One of the local hunters told us that when he shot one of the Fulani, bullets didn’t penetrate his body. This is to tell you that they were adequately prepared for the onslaught. The attack was more pronounced in an area called Ile Baale. They also burnt the palace of Asigangan of Igangan.
“They razed more than 100 shops, a filling station and a gas refill station. We are calling on Governor Seyi Makinde to come to our rescue. This is becoming too much. How can Fulani sack us in our community? This is quite barbaric and unwanted.”
Similarly, an activist who is also the secretary of Farmers Union based in the town, Mr Taiwo Adeagbo, hinted that no fewer than 10 people were killed during the attack. Adeagbo also confirmed that a petrol station, cars and a truck were burnt down by the attackers.
He said: “The Fulani terrorists waged the war on Igangan at about 12 midnight today [Sunday]. They burnt many properties — cars, a truck and a petrol station. “We will know the exact number of people killed, those injured and the number of properties they destroyed in the morning. It is still dark now, things will be clearer later.” When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Adewale Osifeso, confirmed the incident. He, however, declined to give the casualty figure of those who lost their lives.
In a statement forwarded to the Nigerian Tribune, Osifeso said: “On Saturday, at about 11:10 p.m., a yet-to-be ascertained number of unknown assailants invaded Igangan town with dangerous weapons in a bid to create unrest in the town.
“The unscrupulous elements were, however, repelled by a combination of police operational and tactical assets in concert with local hunters and vigilantes. Normalcy has since returned as an on-the-spot assessment is in process. Furthermore, the situation is being closely monitored and comprehensive investigations are ongoing to apprehend the perpetrators.”
Commenting on the casualty figure, Osifeso said, “that would be premised upon the completion of the ongoing comprehensive investigations.”
It will be recalled that Igangan residents had been battling with Fulani herdsmen’s attacks on farmers in their farms, kidnapping and raping of women early this year, a development which made Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, otherwise known as Sunday Igboho, to issue a seven-day quit notice to the Seriki Fulani of Igangan on January 15.
Igboho, alongside his supporters, stormed Igangan on January 22, where youths of the community chased the Seriki Fulani and his loyalists out of the town, burning his residence in the process.
Also, Iskilu Wakili, who was accused of being the mastermind of several cases of kidnapping and killing in Igangan and Ibarapa axis, was later captured by members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) in Igangan and handed over to the police.
Source: Nigerian Tribune