By Evelyn Usman
Residents of Elebute community in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, yesterday, fled their homes to avoid being caught in the crossfire as policemen and pipeline vandals clashed. Vanguard gathered that the vandals engaged policemen and other security agents in a shootout that lasted over an hour at the early hours of yesterday, in an attempt to rescue two of their colleagues that were arrested.
It was reported that they also attempted to deflate the tyres of the Police Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, but their attempt was frustrated. However, some police vans were destroyed though no life was lost. At noon yesterday, three APCs were seen stationed at Ibafo junction with over 50 heavily-armed security personnel, comprising police, soldiers, and National Security and Civil Defense Corps, NSCDC, patrolling the area.
A resident, who came back to pick some of his belongings, told journalists: “Some oil vandals invaded the community two nights ago to attack oil pipelines, when security operatives swooped on them. “This resulted in a gun battle that lasted over four hours. We all laid on the floor. The shooting, which continued the next day forced everyone to remain indoors. We have to vacate our homes so as not to be hit by stray bullets.”
The Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abdulmajid Ali, said two suspected vandals had been arrested following the attack. He said: “We arrested two of the notorious pipeline vandals and before we knew it, the vandals opened fire on our APC. They destroyed our vehicles. I can assure you that we are out for them. “We are no longer going to tolerate their impunity. We are holding two of the kingpins and we would go out for more. They should leave our national assets alone or face the wrath of the command.”