By Demola Akinyemi, Ilorin
No fewer than five persons have been feared killed in Ilesha-Baruba in Baruten local government area of Kwara State on Friday while several others were severely injured during a bloody clash between the soldiers and the commercial drivers.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the clash was prompted by the blunt refusal of one of the commercial drivers to part with N100 bribe as allegedly demanded by one of the soldiers.
The soldiers, Vanguard gathered had mounted roadblock on the Ilesha-sinawu road leading to Ilesha Baruba last Friday being a market day to allegedly extort money from the commercial drivers going to the market as was their tradition.
Trouble, however, started when this particular commercial driver bluntly refused to part with N100 to the soldiers, claiming that he had paid them six times while going to Sinawu market and so he could no longer part with his money.
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The soldiers were also reportedly angry with the boldness of the driver to confront them insisting that as many times as he drives through the road, he must part with N100.
The soldiers were said to have consequently slapped the commercial driver severally and collectively for allegedly insulting them, while the angry driver was said to have abandoned his vehicle and went away to mobilise his members from the nearby motor park.
Vanguard gathered that the soldiers allegedly opened several gunshots on the group of commercial drivers who were coming to confront them and five of them were feared dead as a result.
Pandemonium immediately enveloped the entire market as people in Sinawu market and around scampered for safety in order to avoid being wounded by the soldiers’ stray bullets.
According to an eyewitness, in an interview with journalists, he described the incident as unfortunate.
He said, “Today (Friday) is Sinawu market day and as tradition, vehicular movement from and outside Sinawu is often high especially from neighbouring communities and even as far as Oyo State.
“The soldiers on the Ilesha-Baruba highway which is a distance of 25 minutes are fond of extorting commercial vehicles who ply the road, ranging from N100 to N500 depending on the size of the car and load hed carrying.
” It was while extorting one of the commercial vehicles that the incident happened which led to the shooting of no fewer than 5 youths who the people are battling to save their lives presently”.
Contacted, the state police command Public Relations Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ajayi Okasanmi who confirmed the incident said that, the state police command has commenced full investigations into the incident.
He, however, said that “the state police commissioner, Mr Mohammed Bagega has directed that those injured in the incident be taken to hospital for medical treatment while the investigation is still ongoing”.
Okasanmi, however, called on the people of the area to continue to maintain peace, law and order.