Ademola Babalola in Ibadan
Scores of residents in Isale-Osi, Born Photo and Gidarami areas Ibadan, a notorious haven for the outlawed â€˜One Million boysâ€™ fled on Monday as rival gang members engaged in free-for-all as more than 20 shops, three houses and several vehicles were destroyed in a gun duel.
Crisis erupted on Sunday night but continued on Monday with more deadly weapons being used by the gang members, as residence of the area ran helter skelter for their dear lives.
An eyewitness said many of the suspected hoodlums sustained machete injuries while others were stabbed with knives and broken bottles.
The source who is also a resident of the area, said the fight was caused by the death of a notorious gang leader, who was said to have been killed by members of the rival group during a party in the area last week. He added that no live was lost in the fight.
â€œThe gangs are from Popoyemoja and Born Photo area in Ibadan. One of the leaders of the gang was killed last week at a party. The members alleged that their leader was killed by a rival group and the planned to avenge his death. They came in the night on Sunday but it was not a serious fight.
â€œBut on Monday, they returned and fight broke out between the two groups. They started burning shops and destroying vehicles and houses. They used guns, knives machete, broken bottles and other dangerous objects in the fight. Several members of the gangs were injured. We have to flee the area for fear of being caught up in the fight. They targeted any house where any of the rival cult group is living in. My sisterâ€™s shop was burnt with goods worth thousands of naira destroyed. As they unleash mayhem, they were singing war songs,â€ said the eyewitness who preferred anonymity.
He added that even when the targeted gang members had ran away from the areas, the hoodlums refused to leave, targeting relatives of their perceived enemies. A member of Oyo State House of Assembly, Kehinde Subair, was said to have earlier visited the scene of the fracas.
The Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, who confirmed the mayhem, said some arrest had been made and that normalcy had returned to the areas.
â€œTwo rival groups engaged in fight in the areas but normalcy has returned to the areas. We made some arrests and investigation is still ongoing. Police will not tolerate activities of hoodlums in the state. Our men are still on the ground to forestall further clash and disturbance in the areas by the groups,â€ he said.