Nigeria: Ife/Modakeke Crisis: Police Accused Of Arming Warriors

6 April 2000

Lagos — The renewed hostilities between Ife and Modakeke yesterday, during which a university lecturer and four other people were killed has been attributed to the restiveness of youths in the two communities, aided by some bad elements in the police force.

A high placed source in Ife told P.M.News this morning that hundreds of well-armed youths are currently parading the streets of Ife and Modakeke, setting ablaze properties of imaginary enemies.

Sources of arms for the groups has been traced to some bad eggs in the police force who are said to be making brisk business by supplying arms to the warring youths to continue the mayhem.

Some of these bad elements in the force are said to be making huge sums of money from the conflict.

Residents of the two communities have consistently accused the police of capitalising on the fighting and taking sides. It was gathered that proceeds realised from the war levy placed on residents of the communities serve as a ready income for the procurement of weapons to continue the war.

Elders of the two communities are said to be in charge of collection of the levies. The money, running into thousands of naira, P.M. News gathered are taken en-block and paid to the arms merchants who supply the arms and ammunitions.

It will be recalled that President Olusegun Obasanjo, three weeks ago visited the area, during which he urged the combatants to sheath their swords and stop further destruction.

The president had then warned that his administration will not hesitate to deal with anyone fuelling the crisis, urging residents of the two communities to maintain the peace.

Fighting erupted again yesterday between the two communities as youthful gunmen moved around the ancient city, killing innocent people who did not belong to their camp.

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