A vicious fight between the Hausa and Yoruba residents of the Shasha community in Akinyele Local Government Area of Oyo State broke out three days ago, but the indigenous people of the area have yet to overcome the shock and painful losses of their loved ones, as well as assets and structures destroyed in the tribal conflict.
On Saturday, when the Sunday Tribune visited the town and market scenes, there were indications that despite the heavy security presence spread across many checkpoints in different parts of the community, the ferocious feud is still to subside.
Surprisingly, the presence of security agents did not frighten the residents of Shasha as some of them were seen sitting in groups with knives, cudgels, cutlasses, broken bottles and harmful steel objects under different wooden shades; while the rest were standing with harmful weapons on the roadsides. One word on their lips that resonated spiritually was revenge. And not far-fetched were the reasons.
Our houses, properties and structures that we have been working to build for years have all gone. Even my family’s house in the Ajah quarters was destroyed. All our stores, kiosks, cars and over seven trucks were destroyed by the Hausas in the market fire. One popular pharmacy owned by Dr. Munirudeen, a popular medical doctor in our area, was even burned. This was after the windscreens of his Honda sports car and Hylanda Jeep were destroyed on Friday. The guy said he couldn’t pick a pen out of the pharmacy because it burned down all his goods. Is it fair? The Sunday Tribune lamented one of the leaders of the angry Yoruba youths, who identified himself as Tajudeen Alao.
He said it was the deaths of the two people that caused the spirit of vengeance in the Yorubas, forcing them to engage the Hausas, who on that Friday had already begun to destroy some of the shops on the market.
But it wasn’t long before that Friday morning that the soldiers came and we begged them to stop the angry Hausas from destroying more of our property, but the soldiers said that the order they received from the Seriki was to come and maintain order and not hold the Hausas even when they burned our property as they arrived.
We even tried to face the Hausas and stop them from causing more damage, but we were prevented by the soldiers. Many of our citizens have lost their lives. Two individuals were even macheted to death. This morning we saw their corpses as we combed the area for the Hausas in retaliation,’ he added.
Meanwhile, one of the Shasha market leaders, Ismaila Mekudi, popularly known as Baba Fatimo, led the Hausa fighters to the Shasha garage after the fighting had subsided a bit on Friday to start razing the shops. But by the time we returned this morning (Saturday) to the Shasha neighbourhood, we saw that more structures had been burned, most of which were residential buildings. Is it fair? In fact, some of the Yoruba police officers were angry, but the soldiers insisted that none of them had to go to camp with us.
Now, as we speak, in an attempt to prevent us from taking revenge, the soldiers are using trucks to rescue the Hausas from their camp. We have heard reports that we have been fighting the Hausas and killing some of them. This is not true, however, because the soldiers have not even allowed us to touch the Hausas, let alone destroy their property. But our houses have been demolished and many of our residents have been displaced. And there’s nobody on it saying anything.
Another area resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “There are countless numbers of houses destroyed.” Although the police and Amotekun officers were on the ground, due to the presence of the soldiers who had come and surrounded the Hausa residences, they could not fight on our behalf. Some of the women of the Shasha market are yet to get over the shock of the incident because many of them lost their money in the incidence, goods worth millions.
Before they were all flamed up, they couldn’t even pick a dim out of the shops. The soldiers surrounded the Seriki House of Hausa and left our own residence in Baale. As we speak now, his old house has been burned to death. Yet the soldiers kept preventing our land from being defended by us. We have even heard the fight has subsided. But that’s not true, because until we take revenge, we’re not going to rest.
Even this morning (Saturday), the Hausas invited their brothers from Mokola and Akinyele to meet us together. But what pained us, the Yoruba youths, mostly was that the soldiers had just rescued and whisked away the Hausa residents instead of suing for peace and restoration of order after the Northerners had burned most of our property,’ he added.
Seun Joseph, one of the traders whose goods were burned on the Shasha market, said: “Gold, clothes, money, food worth over ten million naira is what I lost in the incident on the Shasha market.” I sell beers, drinks and wines as well, and I’ve got three fridges. But now they’re all gone as my shop burned down.
I lost everything, and I wasn’t even able to pick a pin from the shop. What I wore to the market yesterday was the cloth that you see on me right now. Since I fled the scene in the heat of the skirmishes yesterday, I have yet to return to that place. I learned that even people in their homes were attacked by the Hausas, especially old women who couldn’t walk and run like us young adults.
Most of my fellow market women have deserted the area as we speak now and have fled. As you can see, because the turbulence is gaining strength by the day, my friend and I are on the verge of abandoning this premise. Yesterday, many people packed their homes and ran away. Some are still packing out even as we speak, while some houses are still on fire.
I would have given you the number of one of our Yoruba market leaders, but in the fight, he lost his phone. As you can see, it’s deserted everywhere. We heard that only two people died in the battle. That’s not true, though, because we can’t even count the number of dead bodies we saw yesterday on the market.
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