No fewer than, eleven people reportedly lost their lives on Tuesday in Ogbere Onilanta in Ona- Ara Local Government of Oyo State when policemen and hunters clashed in the area.
It was gathered that about 40 local hunters, popularly called “Agbekoya”, exchanged gunfire with policemen and attempted to break into the police armoury.
Residents of the area claimed that 11 people died, including hunters and policemen. However, the police said only one person died.
It was gathered that problem ensued when the police insisted on checking the hunters’ convoy but they refused.
An eyewitness, who identified himself as Isiaka, told newsmen that “The men were coming in some vehicles, including a black Toyota Pathfinder.
“Some policemen, who were at the checkpoint in front of their station, stopped them and challenged them for driving recklessly. One of the hunters got down and started arguing with the police.
“He slapped the policeman. Later, we started hearing gunshots. There was shooting from both sides.
“The crisis was so much that everybody started running to avoid being caught in crossfire.”
Some workers at the Elekuro High School close to the scene reported that some policemen rushed into the compound and removed their uniforms.
Police spokesman, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said “Some robbery suspects, identified as Agbekoya militants in three vehicles, attacked policemen on stop-and-search duty at Ogbere and attempted to snatch a rifle from a policeman.
“The bandits were repelled. The hoodlums fled, only to regroup and attack the Ogbere Police Station, advancing to the armoury, shooting their way in.
“The police again repelled their attack and in the process one hoodlum was fatally injured.
“Two suspects were arrested. The injured suspect died on the way to hospital. Items recovered from the hoodlums include: five cut-to-size locally-made guns, 103 cartridges and assorted charms.
“A Sports Utility Van (SUV) was also seized. The arrested suspects have made confessions and are helping the police in their investigation.”