Many injured as Kwara communities clash over land dispute

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

Residents, who witnessed the clashes, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Omu-Aran, Kwara state that the crisis started at around 6.00am.

They said 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 gunfire rented the air.

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

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

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 said that a section of the Offa Central Hotel was torched while 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, Sunday Salami, said 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 around with other security men in ensuring that law and order are restored,” he said.

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

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

In the statement signed by Abdulwahab Oba, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the government expressed concern over incessant crises in the area.

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

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