The Ondo State Security Network, codenamed Amotekun, has accused herdsmen occupying the state’s forest reserves of stockpiling heavy arms and ammunition with the aim of attacking and overrunning the entire state.
Armed herdsmen have also killed at least two members of Amotekun corps in Ondo State. The armed herdsmen also set vehicles belonging to the corps ablaze.
This is even as two persons; a farmer and a vigilante were killed by the suspected herdsmen at Ago Sanusi village in Owo Local Government Area of the State. Leader of the Amotekun corps in the area is also said to be missing after the herdsmen who also burnt the corps patrol vehicle repelled a rescue mission by men of the security network. It was gathered that the herdsmen had laid ambush on the Amotekun Corps officers who after receiving a tip off from some farmers went to the forest reserve on the trail of some criminal elements in the area. The attack, according to a reliable source was carried out Thursday night. Recall that the men of the Amotekun Corps had few days ago apprehended 15 illegal miners for gold mining in the area. The herdsmen who were heavily armed with weapons including AK47 rifles reportedly dressed in military uniform with live ammunition wrapped round their bodies. It was learnt that the attackers had earlier abducted a farmer whose name was given as Lanre, popularly called Lado and his corpse later found with his two hands cut off. It was gathered that a member of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria who joined the Amotekun corps in the operation died after being shot in the head by the herdsmen. The head of operations of Amotekun security outfit in Owo, identified as Oluwasesan Adebayo who was reported to be missing has not been found and his whereabouts unknown at the time of this report. The Public Relations Officer, PPRO, for the state police command, Mr. Tee Leo Ikoro said the police would investigate the matter. However, the Public Relations Officer of Amotekun Corps in the state, Mr. Adebayo Ayeni while reacting to the incident said those who attacked their men are criminals operating under the guise of being herders. In a statement released to newsmen, Ayeni said “Men of Ondo State Security Network Agency, has again made another major breakthrough in their strive to get rid of criminal elements in Ondo State. “This cartels were piling up arms and ammunition to invade the entire state, while masquerading as herders and using the forest as kidnappers’ den for negotiation and ransom, illegal mining activities and cultivation of Indian hemps.”
The security outfit in conjunction with the police, the army and other security agencies in the state however smoked them out of the forest, after it was discovered that the bandits had killed a farmer and a member of the vigilante group in the area. “They also went to the village where an Amotekun vehicle was parked and set it ablaze,” he added. He also confirmed the killing of a farmer and a vigilante in the town.
Armed herdsmen have killed at least two members of Amotekun corps in Ondo State. The armed hersdsmen also set vehicles belonging to the corps ablaze.
Irohinoodua was informed that the armed herdsmen were not only better trained, better equipped but also better coordinated compared with the brave but ill equipped, poorly trained and ill motivated members of Amotekun.
“We have an excellent Amotekun State Commander, a retired General, but the foundation of Amotekun in Ondo is poor. It’s not his fault. He needs to change the training, structure and logistic support to make Amotekun more effective’ a security source that does not wish to be named told Irohinoodua.
Sources told our correspondent that the herdsmen laid ambush and swamped on the Amotekun corps leaving two people dead and several others wounded.
A member of the Oodua People’s Congress, (OPC) in Ondo State, Mr Mark Adamolekun said the Amotekun corps put up a heroic resistance but that they were subdued due to poor training and lack of experience even in their own ancestral territory.
Alhaji Saliu Akinwunmi, another member of OPC commended the State Governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu for his commitment to ensuring safety of lives and property in Ondo State.
He said “Akeredolu makes the people proud. His commitment is not in doubt. He visited the scene of the incidence and has spoken to families of the beriefed.”
However, an official of Oodua Liberation Movement, (OLM) in Ondo State Mr Babalola Durotoye said Akeredolu’s impediment is the Federal Government and what he called the “foundation of Amotekun.”
He said “The Governor is ready to work. His problem is that some of his advisers want to run Amotekun as a political outfit”
The source said further “There is a particular arrogant ex-police officer who was involved in the recruitment. All efforts to guide him and provide useful information to him by the self-determination groups in Ondo State failed. He wants Amotekun to be ran like the Nigerian police. The method of recruitment alienated the people, the mainstream Pan Yoruba groups who have been tested in their ideological commitment to the defence of Yorubaland under oath. He recruited candidates of politicians and traditional rulers, this can never bring the desired corps needed by Amotekun” he said.
Sources said the encounter took place at the Owo forest Reserve Area between Amotekun and Fulani herdsmen.
“Amotekun lost some personnel yesterday along Ute road Owo. They overpowered Amotekun in the process of flushing them out of Owo forest reserves, where they have occupied without authorization.”
The source said some of the armed herdsmen were even mining solid minerals in the reserve without approvals.
The forest has been used as the base of the Fulani herdsmen who continuously carry out crimes like rape, kidnapping and murder.