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Ikare boils again, markets, shops closed

Commercial activities were yesterday paralysed in Ikare Akoko as the ancient town got embroiled in violence.

The violence which erupted on Monday over a loading disagreement between some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, snowballed into shootings, killing and bloodletting.

The violence reportedly claimed the life of a man whose identity is yet to be ascertained while many other people sustained injuries and are now receiving treatment in various hospitals.

Yesterday, when our correspondent visited the town, banks, markets, shops were closed as residents deserted the streets for fear of attack.

Areas like Osele, Oja Oba markets, Old Garage, Post Office and Oloko junction the commercial nerve centers of the ancient town were deserted.

Soldiers and policemen were seen patrolling  the troubled spots of the town.

Although, reports said two persons died in the mayhem, the police said one of the persons shot was alive and receiving treatment in hospital.

It will be recalled that residents awoke to sporadic shootings across the town on Monday morning, forcing shop owners and early arrivals at markets to shut down their businesses.

Narrating what transpired, a resident in the town, who claimed to be an eye witness, disclosed that the crisis started when some NURTW members were seen loading passengers at Oloko area, where government had banned them from loading.

According to the source, the NURTW members were challenged and subsequently obeyed  and left the park only to come back in their numbers and started throwing stones but had to withdraw when it started raining.

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The crisis later took a new turn when the drivers started shooting sporadically as residents took to their heels and ran for safety.

“After the rain subsided, they came out again with guns and started shooting sporadically. One person from Okela axis was shot. He was rushed to Oke Royal hospital where he is receiving treatment” the eye witness told our reporter.

During the melee Some houses were also torched by the gun wielding youths moving across the town.

Other residents who spoke with our correspondent said security agents were not on ground during the mayhem.

A resident, Malik Adepoju, urged the state government to impose curfew on the town to douse the violence.

Details of the crisis were still sketchy as at the time of filing in the story.

However, police spokesperson in Ondo State, Mrs. Funmilayo Odunlami, said calm has returned to the town.

“Our men are there now and calm has returned to the town,” she said.

Odunlami said the police were investigating the cause of the crisis.

A former Regent of Afin Akoko, Mrs Funmilayo Idris,  who was at Ikare Akoko for banking and shopping, went back home disappointed because banks did not open while shops remained closed.

An Ipe Akoko community leader, Mr Femi Kure, urged residents of the town to embrace peace since Ikare is the commercial centre of Akokoland

Meanwhile, our reporter was threatened by some people in the town over the story published on Wednesday April 17, which reported that the Olukare has abided by the order of the state government to rescind the appointment of an Acting Chief Imam for the town and desist from holding any religious gathering in the Olukare’s palace.

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The people threatened to deal with the reporter if he is sighted in the town.

It would be recalled that the state government recently set up a panel to look into communal and religious issues causing unrest in the town but the committee is yet to submit its report.

The latest violence came after the state government initiated several measures such as curfews and other security restrictions in the town.

The government also shut down schools in the town, explaining that the security of the children is of utmost importance.

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