COMMANDERS of the Oyo State Security Network Agency popularly as Amotekun have denied a report that their operatives killed several Fulani herdsmen in the Ibarapa and Oke Ogun areas of the state.
Last week, it was reported that Amotekun operatives and herdsmen were involved in a bloody shootout which led to several deaths. However, Col Olayinka Olayanju, the commandant of the Oyo State chapter of Amotekun, denied that the clash took place, pointing out that the recent operations his men were engaged in were supported by Fulani leaders in the areas.
According to Col Olayanju Amotekun embarked on operations in response to the incessant reports of killings and kidnapping in the area, during which his men launched six operations in four local government areas. However, he stated that the team in Aiyete was attacked in the forest by suspected bandits, three of whom were killed by men of the Amotekun Corps.
He added that some Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) members were part of the operations. Col Olayanju said Amotekun operatives raided the forests of Ibarapa and Oke Ogun areas of the state in the early hours of Saturday to rid the areas of kidnappers and criminal elements.
Yesterday, the corps paraded one of the suspected kidnappers, Sanni Bello, who was arrested in the forests around Aiyegun in Iwajowa Local Government Area. Col Olayanju said: “Contrary to reports, there was no clash whatsoever between Fulani herdsmen and Amotekun in Ibarapa or Oke Ogun axis of Oyo State.
“What happened was that we launched clearance operations in different locations around the thick forests of the four local governments that have suffered kidnapping and wanton killings in recent times. When our men entered the forests at Aiyede, they were attacked and a gun battle ensued, which led to the death of three of the attackers. where one of our men sustained injuries.
“It was not a clash with the Fulani because Fulanis were part of the planning of the operation and we raided the forests together. We were in touch with Seriki who is the leader of the Fulani in the area.
“There were six teams in all comprising members of Amotekun, vigilantes, hunters and Miyetti Allah Vigilante. All the six teams had elements of these groups but at Igbo Ora, one of the teams had an encounter with two armed men, effected their arrest and recovered one double barrel rifle.
“In a related development, another team was attacked at about 9.30am in Igangan forest, Ibarapa North, while on the clearance operations at a settlement. The attack was repelled, resulting in serious injury to one member of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria and three other suspects.
“In Iwajowa Local Government Area, one of the teams also arrested a kidnap kingpin operating around Aiyegun axis. He was arrested with a locally made pistol and cartridges but the operation was suspended at about 12 noon on Saturday to allow for further stock-taking.”