25 feared killed in Nigerian clash

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- At least 25 members of the Yoruba Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) were feared to have been killed during Saturday's clash with guards at the palace of the traditional ruler of Owo, in Nigeria's south-west Ondo state, the local media reported Sunday.
The clash also left about 12 mini-buses and five cars burnt, while OPC's leader Ganiyu Adams barely escaped being killed.
The incident reportedly happened when the so called 'palace guards' opened fire on the OPC convoy, which was travelling through the town to Arigidi-Akoko, Adam's hometown.
Supporters of the traditional ruler-elect of Owo (Olowo), Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi, are angry that the group has pitched its tent with other ruling house (Ajike) in the town against their candidate.
Many people were killed and several houses burnt during last year's clashes between supporters of these antagonistic ruling houses.
OPC Spokesman Sunday Bankole said the attack on the 30-vehicle convoy was unprovoked, explaining that the convoy only stopped in the town to enable the vehicles to re-fuel.
"If we wanted to fight, we would have levelled Owo.
We would have fought back indeed, but our leader said no, he said that he wanted peace and not war in the interest of the Yoruba race," Bankole said.
Ondo state police commissioner, Paul Ochonu, is said to have travelled to Owo to assess the situation.
Nigeria's federal government banned the OPC last year after holding it responsible for a series of deadly ethnic clashes in the Yoruba-dominated south-west.
But the group has continued to operate, with occasional clashes with the police, in spite of the ban.

13 january 2002 15:35:00

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