Femi Ogbonnikan in Abeokuta
At least four persons were feared dead, while six others sustained gunshot wounds at the weekend, following a bloody clash between men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and smugglers at a border town in Ogun State.
The incident occurred at Ilara, in Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State at about 8:30am yesterday.
It was gathered that trouble started yesterday morning when suspected smugglers, in a bid to move prohibited bags of rice in a convoy of vehicles to Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, were accosted by a joint anti-smuggling patrol team made up of the operatives of the NCS and soldiers on the â€œOP MESAâ€.
It was learnt that in a bid to beat the anti-smuggling joint patrol team from catching up with them and also impounding the contraband goods the smugglers put up stiff resistance during which guns were freely deployed to settle the score. At the end of the ensuing melee, it was further learnt that four persons were feared dead, while six others sustained gunshot wounds.
Ogun State Area Command Public Relations Officer of the Customs Service, DSC Abdullahi Maiwada, confirmed the incident but he could not give a satisfactory account of the number of casualties recorded.
He admitted there was an interdiction between the Customs men and smugglers at the Ilara border town on Saturday.
â€œI learnt there was an interdiction between our men (Customs) and smugglers in Ilara border town when the smugglers wanted to move bags of rice in their vehicles out of the town to their receivers, but I donâ€™t have details of the incident. I will get back to you as soon as I am fully kept abreastâ€, said Maiwada.