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Death toll in the age-old communal feud among people of Offa and Erin Ile communities in Kwara State has increased, as the two warring communities renewed their hostilities on Wednesday.
Ten people from both communities were reportedly killed on Monday, as the people used weapons like guns, machetes, knives, including charms, in the ensuing breakdown law and order in the ancient communities.
However, the police have denied any casualty, just as unconfirmed sources said more than 10 people had been killed as of Wednesday, while properties worth millions of naira were said to have been destroyed.
A reliable police source in Ilorin also said an hotelier, who operates his hotel around Federal Polytechnic, Offa, was beheaded, while it was also reported that the the hotel was set ablaze
As a result of the renewed feud, the state government has, however, imposed a 24-hour curfew in the two affected towns with immediate effect.
A statement issued in Ilorin, on Wednesday, signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, said a 24-hour curfew in the two warring towns had been imposed with immediate effect.
The SSG said the curfew was to restore public order in both communities, following recent disturbances, adding that “all human and vehicular movement is hereby barred in Offa and Erin-Ile, in line with this order as the security agencies will deal decisively with any found contravening the curfew law.”
While assuring law-abiding citizens of its resolve to secure lives and properties, the state government said “it is determined to identify and prosecute those behind the recent crises in both communities.”
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the two communities were like war zones on Wednesday, as sporadic gunshots continued to rent the air, while residents of Offa, who live close to Erin-Ile, had relocated.
Investigations also revealed that some vehicles parked in front of the newly commissioned national secretariat of Offa Descendants Union were burnt, while the vehicular movement between the two towns had been suspended by the commercial operators.
It was also gathered that students of the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, had been ordered to go on two-week compulsory vacation.
Due to the development, the state police command had deployed about 40 anti riot policemen in the towns to maintain law and order.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, on Wednesday, one of the high chiefs of Offa, Ojomu of Offa, Chief Bayo Akinola, called on the federal and state governments to rise up to the situation.
Akinola, who was in Ilorin to represent the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, at a workshop organised by the state government, said the national and state boundary commission should do justice to the disputed area.
“We (Offa) are for peace and will be ready to abide with the final justice on the matter, so as to move the state forward,” he said.
Also speaking, a former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, appealed for calm among the people of both towns.
Saraki charged the people of the two communities to give peace a chance and live harmoniously among themselves.
The senator, in a press statement from his media office, said “no communities will attract government and private patronage if there is no peace,” while it charged the people to tolerate each other.