There was a mild drama on Tuesday in front of Ogbere Onilanta Police Station along Akanran, Ona-Ara Local Government Area of Oyo State, as professional hunters, popularly known as ‘Agbekoya’ clashed with officers of the Oyo State Police Command, who were at checkpoint in front of the station.
Metro gathered that hell was let lose when a member of the team of the Agbekoya, which was coming from Lagos and headed for Akanran community where they usually held their monthly meeting on Tuesdays, was alleged to have slapped a police officer.
The incident, according to eyewitnesses’ accounts informed Metro that the peace of the community was disturbed around 10.30 a.m, leaving residents, transporters and passersby to scamper for safety.
Some of the eyewitnesses said “the Agbekoyas were coming in some vehicles, including a black Pathfinder Jeep.
“Some policemen who were at the checkpoint in front of their station stopped them and challenged them for recklessly driving.
“In the process, one of the Agbekoya men got down and confronted the police. While that was on, he slapped the policeman. Later, we started hearing gunshots, with heavy sound of shooting from both sides.
“We learnt that the bullets gunned down one of the members of Agbekoya. The crisis was so much that everybody was running helter-skelter to avoid being caught in the fire,” he recounted.
Other sources informed that some members of staff of a public secondary school in the area, Elekuro High School, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the shooting was so heavy that some policemen had to rush into their compound for cover.
They added that “some police officers ran into our school premises and removed their uniforms, changing into mufti to avoid being identified by the Agbekoya men. Some of us also took refuge under tables and in stores, covering ourselves with any object we deemed fit.”
It was also learnt that when the Agbekoya men ran away from the place, their black vehicle was left behind.
Within about an hour that the turbulence lasted, more policemen and men of the Operation Burst were drafted to the area to maintain peace. An Armoured Personnel Carrier was equally stationed in front of the police station with other police vehicles. Armed policemen and soldiers were positioned at different locations within the community watching to forestall reprisal from the the men.
The Police Public Relations Officers (PPRO), Superintendent of Police, Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the development.
According to him, “some suspected robbers, later identified as Agbekoya militants in three vehicles attacked policemen on ‘stop and search’ duty at Ogbere and attempted to snatch a rifle from the police, but were repelled. The hoodlums fled only to regroup and launched a deadly attack on the Ogbere Police Station, advancing to the armoury, shooting their way in. The police again repelled their attack and in the process, one of the hoodlums was fatally injured.
“Two suspects were arrested. The injured suspect later died on the way to the hospital.”
Items recovered from d hoodlums include: five assorted guns,103 cartridges, assorted criminal charms and a 4 runner jeep. The arrested suspects have made confessions and are helping police in their investigation.
“The incident happened at about 10.30 a.m of today 22/11/16. The Oyo Commissioner of Police, Samuel Adegbuyi, seriously warns individuals or groups going about with prohibited firearms and other lethal weapons with d aim of causing mayhem or apprehension in any part of the state to desist or risk being arrested and prosecuted. The Command is resolutely committed to providing adequate security for law abiding citizens at all times, before, during and after the yuletide period.”