Nigeria: Ife/Modakeke: Fresh Hostilities Claim 10 Lives

By Gbenga Faturoti, Osogbo, 30 May 2000

Lagos — Fresh hostilities have erupted between Ifes and Modakekes in Osun State, leaving no fewer than 10 persons, including a community leader and Vice Principal of Islamic Grammar School, Modakeke, Simeon Adegbenro, dead.

The renewed carnage, however, rubbished the peace moves of the Presidency which had, for the second time last Thursday, summoned the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade and the Ogunsua of Modakeke, Francis Adedoyin, in a last ditch effort to broker peace in the area. By press time on Sunday night, heavy fighting was still raging between the two communities while about 10 houses were set ablaze during the mayhem.

No fewer than five persons were receiving treatment at the Ladoke Akinlola University of Technology Hospital (LAUTECH), Osogbo when our correspondent visited the place. Another 10 persons were on admission at Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex (OAUTH), Ile-Ife.

The cause of the fresh hostilities could not be immediately ascertained but a witness said that the crisis broke out at the burial of one of the strongest warlords of the Ifes, popularly called “Femo” which some youths from Ife allegedly said must not be buried alone.

The warring youths, it was gathered, afterwards launched an attack on the Modakekes and in the process, three people from Modakeke were wounded thus prompting a counter-attack.

Another witness claimed that the fresh hostilities were caused as a result of alleged murder of the late Simeon Adegbenro, the vice principal of Islamic Grammar School, Modakeke.

When contacted, the Ogunsua of Modakeke, Francis Adedoyin confirmed their visit to Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, last Thursday.

He stated that the meeting was held behind closed doors where President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered that a ten-man committee be set up with five each from two communities.

The committee, according to Obsasnjo, was to assist in mid-wifing the much sought peace in the war ravaged Ife/Modakeke.

Speaking on the fresh hostilities, the Ogunsua of Modakeke expressed surprise that the incident could happend while the two traditional rulers were not around.

He regretted that on arrival from Abuja last Thursday evening, the whole place had been engulfed in another violence.

Ogunsua Adedoyin explained that the shooting was more prevalent in areas like Isale-Agbara Sagan, Odo-Okun, Oke-Esho, Urban-Day area, Egbedore and that as at yesterday evening, heavy shooting s still continued in the areas.

The monarch said he had contacted the area commander of the police over the incident and that the police had moved in immediately.

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