By Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan
Gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, have killed scores in Igangan, Ibarapa North local government of Oyo State.
The Palace of the Asigangan and a popular petroleum station were razed in the attack on Saturday evening.
The herdsmen, said to be over 50, allegedly invaded the town around 11 pm in more than 20 motorcycles.
Sources said no fewer than 20 persons have died in the attack.
The attack occurred days after chairman Oyo State Security Network codenamed Amotekun Corps, General Kunle Togun (rtd) alleged foreign Fulanis have encamped the entire Southwest region and may strike if nothing was done urgently.
A former caretaker chairman of the council, Tunji Omolewu, confirmed the incident.
He said: “People had barely retired to bed when they said they sighted motorcycles entering the town. Before our people could know what was going on, they had started killing people.
“I got the call around 11 pm. We were on our way from Ekiti where we had gone to do the Yoruba nation rally.
“I got to Ibadan around 12 am and when the calls did not stop coming, I decided to come home. I have counted more than 20 dead bodies.
‘’The palace of our monarch was torched. Adolak filling station too was burnt.
A former caretaker chairman of neighbouring Ibarapa Central, Yemi Akinlabi, who is holidaying in the United States, said he had been bombarded with calls.
“It is so sad. Only a few days ago, our people got an intelligence report and forwarded it to the appropriate quarters for action but here we are today. Are we going to continue to live in fear in our land?
“I have spoken to General Toogun about last night’s incident and we would want him and his team to do something. Our people must not be allowed to resort to self-help,” he added.
Convener, Igangan Development Advocate, Mr Oladokun Oladiran, said the herdsmen moved from house to house, killing people.
He said efforts to reach the Police and Commander of Amotekun in Igangan proved abortive as all their phones were switched off at the time.
He added but for the intervention of only few and ill-equipped local hunters, the casualties could have been more.
He alleged son of sacked Seriki Fulanis, Ibrahim Saliu, has been threatening the town would be burnt down.
Oladiran said: “Ibrahim, Seriki Saliu son kept pledging that Igangan will be razed down to ashes.
“He had the audacity to proclaim this on social media as well as on radio shows, perhaps his words were taken as mere groans but local vigilantes at Igangan kept receiving the news of impending danger.
“The state, I believe though, it’s just another hype, for we notified the state of our fears on the 14th of April when covert information reached us of a meeting of the Fulanis towards fulfilling their oath of allegiance towards reprisals.
“Today, we lick our wounds. We suffered heavy loss and casualties. The Fulanis fulfilled their pledge. I cannot say the same for those who are supposed to see to our security.”
Reacting to the incident, Governor Seyi Makinde said: “I have received the shocking news of the attacks on residents of Igangan, Ibarapaland, in the early hours of this morning.
“I am currently being briefed on the incidents. I urge residents to remain calm as security operatives are now in control of the situation.”