Social and business activities were halted in Ikare Akoko in the Akoko North-East Local Government Area of Ondo State on Wednesday following the clash among youths in the town.
It was gathered that many people were feared killed, shops and vehicles allegedly vandalised and burnt down by some hoodlums while banks and other organisations did not open for business for fear of being attacked.
A source who spoke with our correspondent said five people lost their lives in the crisis with several others injured.
According to the source, the crisis erupted in the community during a new year carnival organised by the youths on Monday evening as two youth groups engaged in a fight.
The source said, “The crisis started on Monday evening during the new year carnival which was organised by the youths and it later degenerated till this (Wednesday) morning. There were gunshots everywhere. There is tension all over the town as I am speaking with you, nobody could go to the shop or market in Ikare.
“Banks too did not open for their customers for fear of hoodlums. Commercial activities in the central areas like Osele market, Obada Market have been paralysed. Okoja Area, Oloko junction, and Post Office Area up to Lokoja Garage have been deserted while shops and businesses have been closed down. Banks customers particularly those who came to Ikare from outside towns were lamenting the bank closure.”
Another source attributed the crisis to the ongoing cold war between the two traditional rulers in the community- the Olukare of Ikare and Owa Ale of Ikare – saying the two warring groups were alleged loyalists of the two monarchs.
He said, “You know Ikare is divided and Okoja is like a centre between the two. The Owa Ale people wanted to use the place but Olukare youths stopped them.
“When the Olukare wanted to use the place for the carnival on Tuesday, the Owa Ale people stopped them and there was a crisis. The shooting was much that the town became deserted.
“This morning (Wednesday) the youths mobilised for another attack and the shootings continue. Many shops have been closed down but the police have intervened. I saw at least two people shot dead during the fracas and many others injured but I learnt some more people have been killed too.”
When contacted, the state Police Command Public Relations Officer, Funmilayo Odunlami, who confirmed the development, said policemen and other security agents had been deployed in the town to restore normalcy.
The PPRO said, “The warring parties have been warned to maintain peace. Police and soldiers are now patrolling the town to ensure law and order within the area.”