Monday, June 6, 2011

20 killed as Ibadan transport union factions battle

20 people including a pastor have been reported dead in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital as it experienced another moment of terror on Sunday as factions within the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) engaged in a sustained gun battle.

Just last Monday, a fight between the factions claimed one life and left properties worth millions of naira damaged, among which were some 60 vehicles.

It was learnt that Sunday’s battle was a reprisal attack waged by a group loyal to Lamidi Mukaila (alias Auxiliary) to revenge last week’s attack said to have been triggered by another faction led by Lateef Akinsola Oloruntoki (also known as Tokyo).

The union has been enmeshed in crisis after crisis during the administration of the last governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala, which resulted in the proscription of the union by the former governor. A former chairman of the union and an ally of Mr Alao-Akala, Lateef Salako (Eleweomo) was killed during the primaries of the PDP, allegedly by security aides of the former leader of the senate, Teslim Folarin.

Mr Mukaila inherited Eleweomo’s gang - and his hostility to Mr Oloruntoki.

The hostility, which had been dampened by the proscription of the union, flared up after Mr Alao-Akala lifted the proscription order few days to the end of his tenure.

Mr Oloruntoki, in last week’s attack, seized the Iwo-Road interchange motor park from Mr Mukaila, whose men had been holding the park for a long while.

In the recent attack, a number of people were also wounded, with about 20 shops burnt and 30 others looted, while about 50 vehicles were reportedly vandalised.

An eyewitness told journalists that most of the victims of yesterday’s brutality were commuters who were waiting for night buses to board to their various destinations.

He further informed that those who were killed and injured in the melee were those who were at a Total filling station along the end of the Ibadan-Ife Expressway, when a team of the NURTW led by Mukaila stormed the place and started shooting indiscriminately.

Residents of the neighbourhood said that the shooting started around 11.00pm on Saturday and did not subside until about 3.30am on Sunday.

They claimed that the sound of the calibre of weapons used sounded like those deployed by soldiers.

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