Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Four persons were on Saturday feared dead, while six others sustained gunshot injuries following a bloody clash between men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and suspected smugglers at Ilara, a border town in Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The incident, Sunday Sun learnt, occurred around 8:30 in the morning.
According to a source in the town, trouble started when the smugglers in a bid to move smuggled bags of rice in a convoy of vehicles to Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, encountered a joint anti-smuggling patrol team made up of the operatives of the NCS and soldiers attached to the security outfit, OP MESA.
The patrol team had tried to impound the contraband goods when the smugglers put up a stiff resistance and this resulted into a gun duel.
At the end of the gun battle, which reportedly lasted for few minutes, four persons were feared dead while six others were injured.
Ogun State Area Command Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Abdullahi Maiwada, confirmed the incident, but he could not give a satisfactory ac- count of the number of casualties recorded.
He admitted that there was an encounter between smugglers and Customs patrol team at Ilara but could not give vivid account of the incident. Maiwada said: “I learnt there was an interdiction between our men and smugglers in Ilara border town when the smugglers wanted to move bags of rice in their vehicles out of the town to their receivers, but I don’t have details of the in- cident. I will get back to you as soon as I am fully kept abreast.”