By Mustapha Usman
At least 20 Hausa minorities living in Sabo Ile Ife area of Osun State have been killed by a militant gang, the Great Ife, on Wednesday.
Contrary to reports that only five people were killed in the attack, DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that at least 20 people lost their lives in the onslaught.
A witness, Badamasi Muhammad, who lost a brother in the incident told DAILY NIGERIAN that the crisis broke out after a minor fight between a Yoruba woman and a Hausa man on Monday.
He said after the two were reconciled, her husband, who is a member of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, in the town allegedly mobilised members of the Great Ife gang to beat him up.
Mr. Muhammad added that “despite beating the man up, we the Hausa’s did not retaliate. We only waded into the matter. But on Tuesday, they regrouped and invaded our area again. They went berserk, vandalising our goods at market. The carted away money and valuable items,”
He further said that on Wednesday, the militants began shooting sporadically and burnt many houses and mosques, a situation that resulted in the killing of over 20 people, with scores sustaining injuries.
He also revealed that he counted 20 corpses and his brother, Salmanu, who died Thursday morning after he was shot in the stomach.
“As I speak to you now, more than 20 people died and they are all Hausa people. It was one popular gangster squad called ‘Great Ife’. They came to avenge for their member who is the husband of that woman involved in the fight,” he said
“Ironically, these guys laid siege on the whole Sabo Ife for good five hours but not a single policeman reported to the area. They killed, burnt our houses and went scot free,” he lamented.
Another witness, Sani Adamu said he lost two of his friends in the attack.
“Two of my friends and many acquaintances were killed in the attack. The bodies were strewn everywhere. The death toll could be more than 30 because quite a number of victims died in the hospital,” Mr Adamu said.
DAILY NIGERIAN gathered that there is currently mass exodus as Hausa residents of the troubled area are returning to North.
Meanwhile, the Osun state government has declared a two-day curfew in the entire Ile-Ife.
A statement by the spokesman to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Semiu Okanlawon, said “The curfew has been compelled by the breach of the peace in the area which led to avoidable destruction of lives and property.
Osun state government said heavy security forces were deployed to the scene of the crisis in Ile Ife in Ife Central West Local Council Development Area of the state.
“This is to assure all and sundry that the breach of the peace in Ile Ife is not beyond the control of our highly mobilized security forces.
“To this end, the governor of the state of Osun, upon receiving reports of the fracas, the exact cause of which is still under investigation, has ordered deployment of adequate security forces and is getting minute-by-minute situation reports,” he added.
The Ooni of Ife, Adeyeye Ogunwusi, also appealed for peace, calling on the people of Ife to ensure that no more live or property is lost.
Speaking through his media aide, Moses Olafare, the traditional ruler said he had instructed some palace officials to see to the rescue of the Hausas who were held hostage by the Ifes in the mayhem.
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