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Six feared dead in Ondo communal clash

ABOUT six people on Tuesday lost their lives in a communal clash between the loyalists of Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, the Olu of Igbokoda and the family of late Titi Olalebi in Ilaje Local Council of Ondo State.

The late Lebi was killed two years ago by people suspected to be loyalists of Olu of Igbokoda. The monarch and 10 others are currently standing trial in a law court over the incident.

The crisis on Tuesday, according to the counsel to Lebi family, Barrister Koboju Atima, started at about 11.pm when some thugs again suspected to be loyalists of the Olu of Igbokoda invaded the house of one Tale Iwatan at Temitan community.

The cause of the crisis, according to the counsel, was the resistance of Tale Iwatan to Oba Odidimo’s alleged attempt to forcefully take over the Iwatan family land in the town.

The Guardian gathered that Iwatan is a cousin to the late Titi Olalebi, and Atima said that the violence was masterminded by the monarch of the Ilaje-speaking people of the riverine area.

He said the attackers arrived Iwatan family house with guns and other dangerous weapons shooting sporadically and set two houses belonging to the Iwatan family ablaze, after efforts to abduct him failed.

Atima further alleged that two vehicles belonging to the Iwatan family members were burnt. This incident, according to him, was to be the second in six months.

Oba Afolabi Odidiomo, however denied sponsoring the attack as alleged by the Iwatan family and revealed that the crisis erupted as a result of the abduction of his errand boys.

“I am a man of peace, how can I mastermind violence in my domain? What actually happened was that I sent one of my boys on an errand and when we couldn’t find him, we reported the case to the police. His corpse was later found somewhere in the town.

“The search party later went with the police to recover the corpse but in the process some thugs opened fire on them killing six people,” the monarch said, adding that several people also sustained injuries in the process.

The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Wole Ogodo, ‎said the police have taken prompt action to restore peace and order in the area.

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