How artisans’ fight led to ethnic violence in Oyo

Several people have lost their lives after a clash triggered by the fatal stabbing of a cobbler by a cart pusher in Sasha market, Ibadan, Oyo State, degenerated into an ethnic conflict.

The two men had a misunderstanding on Thursday and in the process, the cart pusher, said to be a Hausa man, stabbed the cobbler, said to be a Yoruba man, with a knife.

PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the ethnicity of the two men and there is no evidence that their fight was caused by ethnic issues.

The stabbed victim was confirmed dead in a hospital on Friday morning, leading to crisis in the community between the Hausa and the Yorubas, with the latter group trying to avenge the death of their tribesman.

Within hours, the conflict spread beyond the market, as the Hausa and Yoruba communities in Akinyele Local Government Area, where the market is located, went after each other.

Witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES that, at least, six people died from both sides in the reprisal attacks. Various shops and houses were burnt while the market was deserted in the process.

“The reprisal attacks have led to the death of at least six people from the side of the Yorubas and the Hausas. In fact, many people in the community have scampered for safety,” a resident of Akinyele, who simply identified himself as Khalid, said.

Another witness who did not want his name mentioned told PREMIUM TIMES that “no one is safe. People have been rendered homeless. I know of 15 houses that have been razed and you can’t tell if your home is next. What matters is safety, so people have deserted their homes”.

On Saturday morning, some Yoruba thugs blocked various highways, asking passengers to identify their ethnic groups.

Sources told this newspaper that those who were identified as Hausa were forced out of vehicles and attacked by the hoodlums.

“Once you are an Hausa person, you will be dragged down from the car and be killed by the Yorubas who ordinary to them were avenging the death of the cobbler killed by a Hausa man,” a witness, who said he saw several lifeless bodies at Moniya area of Ibadan, told PREMIUM TIMES.

As the killings continued, the military stormed the community in an attempt to stop the reprisal attacks and destruction of properties.

Speaking on the incident, the Oyo State police spokesperson, Olugbenga Fadeyi, who confirmed the incident, said normalcy is gradually returning in the area.

“Massive Police deployment and that of the sister security agencies were made to douse tension. Critical stakeholders have also been consulted to appeal to the people.”

Source: Premium Times

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