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Drivers, butchers clash in Kwara, 16 arrested


There was pandemonium yesterday in Ilorin, Kwara State, as truck drivers and butchers engaged in a free-for-all at the popular Mandate Market located at Adewole area of the metropolis.

At least 16 persons have been arrested over the conflict, which left two personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) wounded.Sources within the market claimed that the clash arose as a result of protest by some butchers against the way some trucks were parked, which was obstructing their customers from accessing them.

During the face-off, the truck drivers were alleged to have drawn out their knives and attacked a butcher while associates of the victim also rose to his defence. “In the process, all hell was let loose”, said a woman who nearly escaped being a victim. It was feared at a point that the fight would escalate into an ethnic conflict as most of the truck drivers are from the north while the butchers are mainly Yorubas.

Although initial reports claimed one life was lost to the mayhem, security sources later denied the report. Market stalls and shops were hurriedly closed even as motorists plying the route stayed back until normalcy was returned to the area.

The situation was brought under control by the arrival of men of the NSCDC who began to shoot into the air to scare the warring groups away. They were said to have helped several women trapped between the fighting groups to escape and it was in the process that two of them were injured.

Henry Bilesanmi, spokesman for the Kwara State command of the agency, who confirmed the development as well as the reported cause of the incident, said 16 suspects have been arrested. “As I am talking with you I have just returned from the hospital to see our wounded men”, he said and assured that the corps would continue to work for the peace and stability of the state.

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