Graduate, three others killed in Kwara yam dispute
Four people, including a graduate, were feared dead on Thursday in a clash between neighbouring Ilofa and Odo-Owa communities in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Scores of other victims with gunshot injuries were reportedly rushed to the hospital for treatment as many houses were allegedly razed in the crisis.
The unidentified graduate was said to have accompanied his wife to the market when he was hit by a stray bullet.
Investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria reveals that the crisis, which started around 7a.m., started at a market bordering the two communities and resulted in sporadic gunshots.
The market was said to an age-long bone of contention between the two neighbouring communities.
Similar crisis erupted between the two communities about two years ago. It led to the burning of burial sites, houses and a National Security and Civil Defense Corps office.
Many residents of the warring communities were said to have relocated to other communities in Imode and Egosi as fighting raged.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the latest crisis was caused by a disagreement on who should be the first to sell tubers of yam belonging to leaders of the different communities.
It was gathered that it had been an age-long tradition that one of the traditional rulers from the two communities would finish selling his yams at the disputed market before others sell theirs.
The source said, “I think that authority was challenged by a community leader from the opposing community during today’s market and an argument ensued.
“I was inside the market when an argument ensued between some people on who should first sell yams at the market.
“In a twinkling of an eye the argument degenerated and there were sporadic gunshots from different directions and we scampered to safety,” the source added.
The police spokesperson in Kwara, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, confirmed the development, but said the command had yet to ascertain the number of casualties.
He said that some detachment of police patrol team had been deployed to the crisis scene to maintain law and order.