Customs, residents disagree over shootings in Igangan community

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The Nigeria Customs and residents of Igangan, Ibarapa North Local Government Area, Oyo State, are on a disagreement path over the shooting and killings in the community and the nearby towns of Igbo Ora, Tapa, and Ayete.

Gunmen suspected by the residents to be killer herdsmen, but who the Customs identified to be smugglers, were said to have struck in Igangan community and its environs, killing some persons who were given different identities by the residents of the communities and the Nigerian Customs.

Some residents were cited to have noted that while they were not certain of the number of victims during the invasion, there was a disclosure that the Amotekun commander in the local government was killed.

As residents insisted that armed herdsmen invaded their communities, the Nigeria Customs maintained that they were smugglers.

The Nigeria Customs Service in a statement on Saturday indicated that three Customs officers and one soldier sustained injury during the shootout on Friday night.

The Customs Public Affairs Officer at the Federal Operations Unit Zone A, Theophilus Duniya, accordingly, in a statement on Saturday highlighted that the smugglers launched an attack on the operatives the moment they were sighted by customs officers conveying contraband goods in eight trucks. He noted that the eight operatives were injured, adding that one of the smugglers was also injured and arrested but others escaped with the smuggled goods.

Duniya, in the statement, narrated: “The injured Customs Officers who are operatives of the Zone A, Federal Operations Unit, sighted eight trucks carrying smuggled foreign parboiled rice whose drivers and armed accompanying passengers launched an attack on the officers.

“One of the attackers was shot and disarmed while the others retreated with their smuggled wares.”

It was indicated that reinforcement from local vigilante groups strengthened the joint efforts to overwhelm the smugglers who fled for safety.

The Customs indicated that investigation has commenced for the arrest and prosecution of the smugglers. The authorities added that the injured Customs officers and a soldier were receiving treatment.

Meanwhile, residents of Igangan community and the environs currently live in palpable apprehension over the serial attacks and killings in their communities.