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One dead, houses, vehicles burnt as Yoruba/Hausa clash in Ondo

By Dayo Johnson

Akure—A woman identified as Mama Lekan, weekend, slumped and died, while four houses, six vehicles and 12 motorcycles were razed during a clash between the Yoruba and Hausa in Sabo area of Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The deceased, suspected to have died of shock, had rushed to the scene in search of her little son.

Vanguard learned that trouble started Sunday evening during Egungun Festival, when an Hausa man pushing a wheelbarrow allegedly violated the rules of the festival.

It was gathered that a day before the celebration, Akure community, led by the Elijoka, announced the celebration on air, with a directive to residents around Sabo-Odojoka Street to keep off the streets, during the one-day festival.

However, eyewitnesses said that on the D-Day, the wheelbarrow pusher insisted on passing through the midst of the masquerades and their followers, but was resisted.

When he insisted, he was flogged by the masquerades followers.

An eyewitness said: “Other Hausa men who were within the vicinity rushed to the scene and a fight ensued.

“The masquerade was unmasked and a free-for-all began, with both sides wielding dangerous weapons.”

As at yesterday, security was still beefed up in the metropolis. But  shops in the area remained under lock and key.

Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi, the Commissioner of Police, Olugbenga Adeyanju, other security chiefs and the paramount ruler of the town, Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, visited the troubled area to assess the damages.

Spokesman for the 32 Artillery Brigade, Akure, Major Ojo Adenegan, said they were at the scene as a collaborative effort to curb the situation and to ensure that lives and properties were safe.

His Police counterpart, Femi Joseph, said no arrest had been made, adding however, that investigation into the clash was still in progress.

Meanwhile, Ondo State government, in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Yemi Olowolabi, yesterday, condemned the clash between the ethnic communities, informing, however, that normalcy had returned to the troubled zone.

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