A pall of anguish descended on five communities in Sagamu Local Government Area of Ogun State yesterday after a gang of gunmen invaded the area and shot no fewer than 10 persons to death.
Several others were wounded by flying bullets, some others fell into ditches while they were scampering to safety in the bedlam sparked by the unexpected shooting at Imagbon, Elepete, Kajola, Glorious land and Ereko.
Residents gave the names of some of the dead as Wasiu Okeowo, Yah Lateef, Oladele Ogundare and one Umoru.
Eye witnesses blamed the attack on pipeline vandals who had earlier on Friday been dislodged by policemen from their hotel hideout at Elepete.
During the raid, two suspected pipeline vandals were allegedly shot dead.
But at about 12midnight, the runaway vandals returned in fury and well-armed.
They vented their anger on the residents killing and destroying whatever they could lay their hands on.
Goats, fowls and dogs did not escape their fury. They were mercilessly mowed down.
Over 20 shops were broken into and valuables therein carted away.
A resident, whose name cannot be mentioned for safety reasons, said corpses littered the community.
“Some of us came back this morning to see corpses everywhere. Houses were destroyed. Shops vandalised and they even killed our livestock,” he said.
“It was those militants that did it. They have been terrorising us for some time now especially since the government stopped pumping fuel through the pipeline at Elepete.
“Before what they usually did was to come and kill our livestock. They would also attack people with guns and steal from them. The only time people died was during shoot outs between the boys and security agencies.
“But yesterday they came for the residents. It was an attack on the community. I don’t know why they went on the rampage and killed our people like that.
“Already we have counted about 10 corpses and three injured people have been rushed to the hospital. We have been having meetings and policemen from Ogijo division came to see things for themselves.”
Another resident simply identified as Alhaji said the boys had threatened to return and raze their houses.
He pleaded with government to “come and help us before these militants kill us all,” adding they left threatening to come back and torch our houses. They have even marked some building for destruction. We want justice for our people who have been killed.”
Some of the bereaved families have buried their dead. One of those already buried is one Oladele Ogundare.
A source described him as a comfortable and popular man in the area.
“He was a rich guy. Nobody knows why or how he was killed. But I can confirm to you that his family has buried him,” he said source.
Femi, Oladele’s brother said he was shot up to 10 times in his Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) by hoodlums.
He said: “My people called and told me that my brother had been killed. I was not there when it happened. They said it was around past 11pm while he was driving that the militants attacked him.
“They deflated his tyres so that he won’t run. His vehicle was riddled with bullets and the wind screen shattered. One of the bullets hit his leg. He was bleeding and ran out of the car to enable him escape, but they pursued him.
“We saw traces of blood from where he left the car to the place his body was found. We have buried him. He was 44 years and he worked at the airport. He left a wife and three children. All we want is justice. We are crying for justice for our brother and for all those killed by the militants.”
The State Police Command, however, confirmed only three deaths.
Spokesperson for the command, Muyiwa Adejobi, said three persons died and one was injured.
He identified one of the deceased as Waheed Buhari, adding that the man was shot with his daughter.
He said: “Gunmen numbering about 100 stormed the riverine community of Elepo around past 11pm. They shot a man, Waheed Buhari, and his daughter, Miriam. The man later died in the hospital but his daughter is responding to treatment.
“We also found two unidentified bodies. So, what was recorded was three fatalities and one injury. “People are alleging that the gunmen are militants. We cannot say for sure who they are and are not leaving anything to chance since the community is in the riverine area.
“The Police Commissioner has directed a widened scope of investigation and security has been tightened in the affected areas.”