About four persons have been reportedly killed on Thursday, as suspected herdsmen and farmers clashed in Iwoye area of Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State, southwest Nigeria.
The incident, which has ignited tension in the agrarian community though now under control, also left some police officers injured.
To douse tension and restore normalcy, the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, visited the town for on-the-spot assessment and addressed stakeholders on the need to ensure peaceful coexistence among different tribes, especially the herdsmen and their host communities.
It was gathered that the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) in charge of Imeko and a police inspector were shot in one of the attacks.
Accounts by eyewitnesses have it that the chaos broke out after suspected Fulani herdsmen made their cattle to drink from the community stream and polluted the water.
A native, who allegedly challenged the alleged action of the herdsmen, was said to have been shot dead in the ensuing altercation.
The killing sparked crisis and made the community members mobilise for reprisal attacks.
However, in an attempt by policemen to apprehend some of the perpetrators, the herdsmen who had laid an ambush opened fire on the security agents, killing one of the civilian accomplices of the policemen.
The slain civilian was identified as Kabiru Ogunrinde while the DCO and inspector were injured by the suspected herdsmen.
A source from the affected area said six persons have so far been killed from both sides.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the clash but said only one death had been identified by the police command.
He said the state Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, had visited the scene and investigation commenced to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The PPRO, however, blamed the incident on migrant herdsmen from neighbouring countries, who invaded the community and subsequently escaped after wreaking havoc.
Oyeyemi, who stated that no arrest had been made yet, said the injured policemen were recuperating in the hospital.
He said, “The CP was there today with the police management team and we have stationed our men in the town, including men from PMF, SARS, Anti-kidnapping and other tactical squads.
“The CP has addressed all the stakeholders, including the Fulani community and natives of Iwoye community and their Kabiyesis (traditional rulers). He has warned them to live in peace and whoever foments trouble will have himself to blame.
” We know of one casualty now, we even saw the corpse. Though we heard rumour that from the other side of the stream which is in the Benin Republic, some people were actually attacked there.
“The CP also met with the commissioner of police from the Benin Republic at the border and they had a joint meeting and they are going to set up a joint committee to prevent future occurrences.”