Unknown gunmen have razed 15 houses in an attack on Asere riverine community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State. The gunmen were said to have attacked the community for allegedly tipping off security agencies about their activities and movement. According to women in the village, the attackers were known members of the community who got annoyed because the Joint Task Force clamped down on them.
They identified the suspected gang members as Kutu Mone aka MK; July Mone; Best Oniwei; Iyemiyelawei Mone; Mathew Suku Polobubou; Dedewei Mone and Bado Ogbudugbudu.
The protesters said the gang has been operating in the riverine area until security operatives started arresting them.
One of the protesters, Faith said the ringleader, Kutu Mone, who hails from Asere, invaded the community because he felt his people were giving security men tips-off about their activities.
According to her: “We saw fire burst out of our houses. We didn’t know what was happening. We all ran into the bush all through the night till security men came to our rescue.”
Paramount ruler of Agadagba Kingdom, Oba Zachueus Doubra, said he received report that one of his subjects, who he described as a ‘recalcitrant boy’ invaded Asere to burn down the community.
According to him: “I sent my chiefs and some police officers to the community and I was informed that 14 houses were burnt down, nine other houses vandalised. Many were rendered homeless. Many ran into the bush in pants, some in knickers.
“I want to appeal to all the three tiers of government and all relevant agencies to come to the aid of the victims by way of relief materials.”
Reacting to the incident, Ondo Police spokesman, ASP Tee-Leo Ìkorò, said the police have begun an investigation into the matter.
He, however, asked the people of the community to go back to their normal businesses.
He said: “We want to assure the people of the area that Police are on top of the situation. The people should go back to their normal businesses.
“Our men have taken over the area and with no time, MK and his gang would be arrested and be prosecuted as well.”
50 herdsmen have been arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for bearing arms. Commandant-General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi disclosed this while presenting licences to private guard operators.
Audi said some of the arrested arms-bearing herdsmen are into cattle rustling and kidnapping. They were reportedly arrested in Ekiti, Borno and Cross River states.
“We arrested 50 illegally armed herdsmen and realised that some of them are into cattle rustling and kidnapping.
“The armed herdsmen were arrested in Ekiti, Borno and Cross River states and in some other parts of the country.”