Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Four die as palace is torched in Osun

Four die as palace is torched in Osun
From Tunji Omofoye, Osogbo
Tuesday, October 23, 2007

IKIRE, the headquarters of Irewole Council area of Osun State was held by the jugular yesterday as irate youths took to the streets and set four persons, along with the palace of the monarch, the Akire of Ikire, Oba Olatunde Falabi on fire.

The angry youths, whose action resulted in the death of the four persons and destruction of vital artefacts in the traditional ruler's palace were said to be protesting alleged ritual killings of innocent people in the community.

Other sources said the youths were venting their anger against alleged political support given to a candidate by the monarch as against their popular choice at the concluded primaries of the council election in the area.

During the protest, which started in the early hours of yesterday, the youths reportedly combed the entire town in search of their perceived enemies.

The Guardian learnt that two of the four victims set ablaze were advanced fee fraudsters popularly called 419 who were operating in the town.

According to the sources, one of the fraudsters was apprehended and set on fire at Ode-Adie area while the other was overpowered and burnt to ashes at Sango, another location in the community.

It was gathered that the youths claimed that they had made a report of the rampant ritual killings in the town to the monarch without getting the desired response from him. The development allegedly sparked off the violent protest.

Falabi, whom they accused of not taking prompt action to stem the tide of loss of innocent people's life was outside the town when the violence broke out but his palace was torched while vital documents and artefacts were destroyed.

It was gathered that the mysterious disappearance of a woman whose corpse was later discovered at a remote location with her vital organs removed in the town at the weekend ignited yesterday's protest by the youths.

But another source, who craved anonymity attributed the cause of the violent protest to the disagreement arising from the local council primaries in which a candidate supported by the youths lost out.

The youths were said to be infuriated by the action of the monarch, who they accused of backing a candidate who contested and won the primaries.

The protest disrupted the social and commercial activities in the town for several hours before the police were drafted to restore normalcy.

It could not be ascertained as at press time the number of people arrested in connection with the disturbance but many residents were said to have fled their homes while other sought refuge in neighbouring towns.

Reacting to yesterday's development, Falabi who spoke on telephone from Lagos lamented the loss of lives and burning of his palace. He said the action by the youths had political undertone, which was targeted against him.

The Deputy Governor of the state, Olusola Obada, who visited Ikire accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Director of the State Security Service (SSS) condemned the loss of lives and wanton destruction of property and traditional artefacts.

Obada visited the palace of Akire, which was still then burning and later went round the town to appeal for calm, adding that the people should report suspected criminals to the law enforcement agents instead of taking laws into their hands.

This article was taken from the online version of The Guardian Newspaper.

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