From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Barely 24 hours after herdsmen invaded Igangan in Ibarapa zone of Oyo State, killed many residents and burnt multi-million naira property including the palace of the traditional ruler, attackers were reported to have stormed Idere, another community in Ibarapa.
The are seven principal towns in Ibarapaland, namely Ayete, Tapa and Idere in Ibarapa North Local Government, and Igboora and Idere in Ibarapa Central Local Government and Eruwa and Lanlate in Ibarapa East Local Government.
Daily Sun learnt that the attackers that invaded Idere were repelled by vigilance groups.
“Vigilance groups in Idere were at alert and prevented the bandits from wreaking havoc in the community the way they did in Igangan a day earlier,” an eyewitness said.
Daily Sun learnt that local hunters and other security operatives have embarked on the defence of the seven Ibarapa towns and their villages. It was also gathered that the local security operatives have started combing forests in the area in search of the criminal herdsmen.
The local security operatives, it was learnt, said they took the stance to resort to self-help in spite of increased deployment of policemen and operatives of a joint-security outfit of the state, Operation Burst, comprising soldiers and men of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCSC).
A resident of Idere, who gave his name as Adeleke Akangbe said: “In Idere, we have been mounting security 24 hours on daily basis. On Sunday night, about 24 hours after criminal Fulani invaded Igangan, the same invaders showed up in Idere. But we did not allow them to enter the town. We stopped them right in the forest.
“Now, we are combing the forest and trailing the criminals to the borders of Nigeria with Benin Republic in Kajola suburb of Ayete, and boundary of Oyo State with Ogun State in Igboora. We are at alert. We are ready for the criminal herdsmen. We will never be caught unawares again.”
Meanwhile, some parents stormed schools in Ayete, Igangan and Tapa, yesterday, to withdraw their children from schools when news of another attack filtered into the communities.
It was learnt that the parents who withdrew their children from schools vowed they would not allow them return until threats of attacks in the communities is effectively curtailed.
Elenpe of Tapa, Oba Titiloye Oyekanmi, said: “People have been running helter-skelter to ensure they withdraw their children from schools. We couldn’t sleep till this morning. We just heard that those Fulani people are restrategising to attack us again, but they didn’t tell us the precise time. There is no presence of security agencies here. We need government now.”
Meanwhile, some residents of Ibarapa yesterday, alleged that they saw an helicopter drop firearms for bandits that attacked the community. One of the resident who spoke on condition of anonymity told Daily Sun that he had video evidence to support his claim.
“I have the video evidence. The helicopter dropped ammunition for the bandits behind the house of Iskilu Wakili in Kajola area of Ayete some days ago. We raised the alarm then and nobody listened to us.”
Police Public Relations Officer for the state, Mr. Adewale Osifeso, confirmed the attack on June 5 in Igangan community saying 11 persons including some of the assailants died while a number of vehicles and buildings, including the Palace of the Asigangan of Igangan town and a filling station were razed down.