Residents of Banku Estate, Wawa, in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, Ogun State, have deserted the community after suspected militants killed no fewer than five residents and injured three others.
It was learnt that the gunmen had invaded the community around 9pm on Wednesday in search of a community leader, identified only as Bashorun.
When they did not meet Bashorun, the gang leader was said to have ordered them to open fire on everyone in the area.
Workers in a block-moulding factory and other residents were said to have been shot dead, as the assailants moved from house to house.
Although residents claimed that no fewer than five people were killed, the police said four corpses were recovered from the scene of the incident.
The deceased were identified as Saheed Olanure (21), Alfa Daniel (36), Lekan Nojeemu (24), and Emeka Chiasung (28).
Three others were said to have sustained gunshot injuries and were rushed to a hospital.
When PUNCH Metro visited the area on Thursday, it was observed that the road to the community was deserted, while most houses and shops were locked.
A few families were seen packing their loads.
A resident, who did not identify himself for security reason, said the gunmen entered the community under the cover of darkness.
He said, “They came in through a swamp and left through the same way. I was in the toilet when they came. I just heard gunshots and the sound of people running.
“They entered the house beside ours. They were saying, ‘Kill everybody,’ ‘Anybody that comes outside, kill’. People ran inside and shut themselves in.
“They started knocking on doors. They were shouting at a man to come outside, but he refused. The next thing I heard was a gunshot and a scream. They went to more houses.
“They started the operation around 9pm and finished around 9.44pm. More than five people were killed, and they didn’t take any money. We picked some corpses from the bush. We later picked one inside a house. We found the dead workers as well. Three people were injured.”
He added that some of the corpses were taken away by the victims’ families.
The resident said the workers, who were killed, came from Lagos and Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, adding that they always slept in the factory.
Another resident explained that the gunmen came for a community leader, Bashorun, saying the target had visited the area three days earlier to repair his building that was damaged during an earlier attack.
He said, “Four months ago, some hoodlums invaded the community. They claimed to be Omo Onile. The police intervened and some of them were arrested. Because of that incident, the leadership erected a security gate at the entrance into the community.
“But three weeks ago, they came again. They abducted Bashorun’s brother. They attempted to get him as well, but they couldn’t because his house was fortified. They, however, shot and injured him.
“Three days ago, the man came to the community to repair his building that was damaged during that attack. An informant working for the hoodlums probably informed them that he was around and that was why they came yesterday night (Wednesday).
“When they didn’t find him, they decided to vent their aggression on people within the community.’”
PUNCH Metro learnt that policemen from the Warewa Police Post, who were joined by cops from surrounding divisions, got an alert shortly after the hoodlums left.
A police source said the entrance into the community was blocked with cars parked by frightened residents.
The source said, “The patrol vans could not access the community because many cars were parked at the gate by people who were too scared to go in.
“The police team had to trek for about three kilometres before they could get to the area. When they got there, they could not locate the scene on time because there was confusion among the residents.
“When the police got there, they found only one injured person, who was taken to a hospital. But four corpses were later found at different spots on Thursday.”
The source said the killings were not unconnected with a dispute over land between Bashorun’s gang and a rival group.
A landlord said she was leaving the community till sanity was restored.
She said, “Help us beg the government to do something about our case. We are helpless. Most landlords and tenants have started leaving. For the past five years that I have been here, it has been peaceful until now. The gunmen killed one of my tenants, Saheed, and another man we call Manager.”
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident, saying four people were killed.
He said, “There was an invasion of the area through the waterways by suspected militants. The militants attacked and killed four people and injured three others. The state Commissioner of Police is trying to work with the government, other stakeholders and sister agencies. We are making efforts to fortify security in that area.”
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