Gunmen suspected to be terrorising waterways in the Ese-Odo local government area of Ondo State, have allegedly razed 14 houses in a midnight attack on the Asere riverine community.
According to a report by Nation newspaper, the gunmen attacked the community for tipping off security agencies about their activities and movement.
Women in the community protested the attack, calling for the arrest of gang members.
The protesting women said the attackers were known members of the community who got annoyed because the Joint Task Force clamped down on them.
They identified the suspected gang members as Kutu Mone aka MK; July Mone; Best Oniwei; Iyemiyelawei Mone; Mathew Suku Polobubou; Dedewei Mone and Bado Ogbudugbudu.
The protesters said the gang had been operating in the riverine area freely until security operatives started arresting them.
One of the protesters, Faith said the ringleader, Kutu Mone, who hails from Asere, invaded the community because he felt his people were giving security men information about their activities.
She said: “We saw fire burst out of our houses. We didn’t know what was happening. We all ran into the bush all through the night till security men came to our rescue.”
Paramount ruler of Agadagba Kingdom, Oba Zachueus Doubra, said he received a report that one of his subjects, whom he described as a ‘recalcitrant boy’ invaded Asere to burn down the community.
“I sent my chiefs and some police officers to the community and I was informed that 14 houses were burnt down, nine other houses vandalised. Many were rendered homeless. Many ran into the bush in pants, some in knickers.
“I want to appeal to all the three tiers of government and all relevant agencies to come to the aid of the victims by way of relief materials,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ondo Police command, Tee-Leo Ikoro, said: “We want to assure the people of the area that police are on top of the situation. The people should go back to their normal businesses.
“Our men have taken over the area and with no time, MK and his gang would be arrested and be prosecuted as well.”