ABOUT five persons were feared dead in Ojutu, Ilobu in Irepodun Local Government area of Osun State on Friday morning following a violent protest by the people against alleged killing of a commercial motocyclist.
It was exactly 14 days after two brothers of same parents were shot dead at Ikirun in the same local government area by a trigger-happy policeman, leading to the killing of the policeman and burning down of two police stations in the town.
According to an eye-witness account, the motocylist was stopped by a police team who mounted a road block before a narrow bridge leading to Ilobu before the incident.
The eye-witness account revealed that the motocyclist could not stop immediately because he ran suddenly into the road block and could not see clearly because of the early morning fog.
In an attempt to stop suddenly, it was said that the motocylist lost control and fell on the middle of the road while an on-coming vehicle ran over him and killed him on the spot.
The death of the motocyclist was said to have infuriated the indigenes of the town, who mobilised and gave the members of the police team a chase as far as the police station very close to the spot of the incident.
For fear that the mob might burn down the station and kill the officers on duty, it was gathered that signals were sent to the state Police Headquarters from where about six police vans were dispatched to the scene to disperse the irate mob. While the police operations lasted, about five persons were feared to have lost their lives in an exchange of gunshots between the indigenes and the police.
The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Solomon Olusegun, who temporarily moved his office to the scene, said no one was killed, but said that two people were injured – a policeman and a rioter.
As at 5.15pm when he spoke with our corrspondent on phone from the spot of the incident, the police commissioner denied that people were killed, but on further probing, he said “detailed reports of the incident are sketchy for now.”
However, a reliable source inside the State Hospital at Asubiaro said two persons were brought dead to the hospital while three others, including two civilians and a policeman, sustained gunshot injuries.
Meanwhile, there was tension in Ilobu as many indigenes and residents were prevented from travelling back home or go out of town because the police team, led by Olusegun, had blocked the main road leading into the community.
Many desperate residents were forced to take the longer Ede route to travel in and out of the town. Travellers were stranded as all the commercial vehicle operators withdrew their services for fear of being arrested.