No fewer than 10 persons were feared killed and scores injured yesterday in violent clashes that erupted between Hausa and Yoruba communities in Ile Ife, Osun State. Besides, houses, vehicles, motorcycles and articles of trade were razed in the crisis.
The Guardian learnt that the crisis began on Monday when some Hausa men allegedly beat up a Yoruba man in the Sabo area of the ancient city. Meanwhile, the Yoruba, who learnt about the development, moblised for reprisal attack on Tuesday. The crisis however spread to Obalufon and Oja Tuntun areas leading to the death of 10 persons.
A leader of the Hausa community in Ile-Ife, Seriki Hausa, was said to have invited the police when the crisis escalated. Scores of Hausa people were rescued from the troubled areas and taken to the Palace of the Ooni of Ife but hoodlums quickly lashed on to the crisis to loot shops and homes.
Another account said the two communities were fighting over a married woman who had been married to an Hausa man but was having an affair with a Yoruba man.
The crisis was said to have paralysed socio-economic activities in Sabo, Moore and other commercial areas in lle-Ife. Motorists and other road users had to make a detour from the troubled zone.
Although a combined team of the police, soldiers and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were drafted to keep peace in the area, Sabo remained tense as at the time of filing this report.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mrs. Folasade Odoro, confirmed the development but said the command could not ascertain the number of casualties involved.
She said an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Operations was at the scene to control the situation. At 5pm when this reporter was leaving Ile-Ife, more soldiers were being drafted but eye witnesses alleged that soldiers earlier drafted to the scene were biased as they looked away while the Hausa people set property ablaze in the affected areas.