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Scores injured in Kwara communal crisis

Clashes erupted again over land between Offa and Ijagbo communities in Kwara early on Wednesday, forcing people residing in border areas of the communities to flee.

Residents, who witnessed the clashes, told newsmen in Omu-Aran, Kwara that the crisis started at around 6.00 a.m.

They said that trouble broke out, following disagreements over an age-long land dispute between families from the two communities.

A family from one of the warring parties was alleged to have made efforts to develop the disputed land when pandemonium broke out.

Schools, homes and shops were hurriedly shut as sporadic gun fire rented the air.

Vehicular movement and business activities were also suspended and a barricade was raised on the major road linking the two communities.

Scores of residents in the two warring communities were also said to have sustained varying degrees of injuries as a result of the problem.

An unconfirmed report said that one person was shot dead during the incident.

Motorists going to Osogbo from Ilorin at Ajase-Ipo were forced to divert because of the crisis.

An eye-witness told newsmen that a section of the Offa Central Hotel was torched and a motorcycle and a car were vandalised.

Security operatives from the police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the navy were quickly deployed to the communities to ensure peace.

The Divisional Officer of the NSCDC in Offa, Mr Sunday Salami, told newsmen that the command was doing its best to bring the crisis under control.

“As I am talking to you, the major roads are still barricaded from both ends.

“Our men have been mobilised and are moving round with other security men in ensuring that law and order is restored,” he said.

Salami said, however, that the command was yet to make any arrest relating to the incident, noting that the immediate cause of the crisis was being investigated.

The Kwara government in a statement, vowed to deal decisively with perpetrators of the latest violence.

In the statement, signed by Mr Abdulwahab Oba, the Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed, the government expressed its concern over the incessant crisis in the area.

It directed security agencies in the state to strive toward ensuring the arrest of people behind the crisis with a view to restoring law and order.

NAN


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