Ijaw Youths, OPC Clash In Arepo Over Pipeline, Pregnant Woman, Many Killed

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Culled From Punch;
Members of the Oodua People’s Congress and some suspected
pipeline vandals have clashed in Arepo, in the Obafemi Owode area of Ogun
State.
It was gathered that the Wednesday clash caused pandemonium,
which led to the killing of a pregnant woman, Mrs. Damilola Fajana, and another
pedestrian. It was learnt that a suspected vandal had earlier been killed on
Tuesday by some OPC members.

The Wednesday incident happened in the Unity Estate, around
3pm.
Punch Metro gathered that a passerby was hit by bullet in the
leg and was rushed to the hospital.
When our correspondent visited the community on Thursday, he
observed that all shops in the estate were locked.
The road leading to the estate was also deserted as a few
motorcycle riders were seen plying the area.
Around 11am, there was panic as some women suddenly took to
their heels, saying the fight had started again.
Punch Metro learnt that the clash had been on since Monday.
A resident said, “The fight has been on for some days now.
It is between some Ijaw youths and OPC members that the Federal Government
employed to protect pipelines.
“But yesterday (Wednesday), it took a new dimension as they
faced one another in broad daylight. There was heavy exchange of gunfire.
“A pregnant woman was in a car with her husband. A bullet
pierced through the windscreen and hit the woman in the neck.
“Her husband was devastated and begged people to help. The
woman did not survive the gunshot. She died there. We were told she was six
months pregnant.”
Another witness told our correspondent that the second
victim was walking by the roadside when he was hit in the stomach by a stray
bullet, which killed him.
“The man was hit in the stomach and died. Another person was
hit in the leg and was rushed to a hospital,” he said.
Our correspondent learnt that the OPC members and the
vandals took the battle to the premises of a primary school in the area.
A large number of people were said to have been injured
during the clash.
A source told Punch Metro that earlier that day, the OPC
members had combed some streets in the estate, searching for the suspected
vandals.
He said, “They went to three different streets where the
vandals usually sold fuel to residents. They met resistance on Ebute and
Akinsanya streets. There was a serious clash on Ebute Street.
“It was after that clash that the OPC members launched a
major offensive in the afternoon.”
Our correspondent gathered from another resident that the
suspected vandals had sought to pacify the OPC members.
It was learnt that the wife of one of the suspected vandals
had sought audience with the ethnic militiamen, but the meeting did not go
well.
He said, “This fight started after the suspected vandals
sent a woman to the OPC members so they could come to an agreement.
“But the OPC members refused and attacked the woman. That
was how the battle line was drawn.”
It was learnt that people in the community are constantly
disturbed by gunshots which start late at night into the early hours of the
morning.
A woman said, “As from 3am, they would start their shooting
which would continue till dawn.
“Everybody is scared. This area has always been peaceful
until now. And I believe the vandals have increased their activities due to the
fuel scarcity in the country.”
Punch Metro gathered that text messages and letters were
being sent to residents to stay indoors as there would be more attacks.
Our correspondent was told that the information was to
reduce the number of casualties.
A resident said, “I have just received a text message from
my church that there will not be service today until Sunday because of the
unrest.”
A community leader, Mr. Victor Olajide, condemned the
actions of the OPC men, adding that the government should withdraw them from
the area.
He said, “On Tuesday, they raided the home of an Ijaw woman.
She is neither involved in vandalism nor an accomplice. But after ransacking
her house and destroying her things, they shot one person dead there.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), a stray bullet killed a woman. These
people are not educated and they don’t have the technicality to handle the kind
of job they have been given. The government should train the police better to
handle the job and the OPC members should be withdrawn.”
However, the OPC National Coordinator, Gani Adams, denied
that OPC members fired the shots that killed the victims.
He said, “What happened was that in less than 24 hours that
the police were withdrawn from the pipelines, our men intercepted about 50
jerrycans, each containing 60 litres of stolen fuel. They were loaded in three
vehicles.
“We were able to arrest one of the vandals, but the second
person jumped into the water and escaped.
“The fuel was taken to the NNPC depot at Mosimi.
“But the hoodlums protecting the vandals came against our
men and began shooting into the community.
“In the process, two people were shot dead on Wednesday.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ogun State Command,
Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident.
He added that the corpse of the pregnant woman had been
deposited in a morgue.
He said, “The bullet hit the pregnant woman in the neck and
she died.
“We just heard that there was exchange of gunfire, so we
don’t know who exactly fired the shot.”

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