Three persons were feared killed in Oyo town on Sunday during protest by some youths over an early morning fire at Akesan market in the ancient town.
The three persons were said to have been shot death during the protest that greeted the failure of men of the Oyo state Fire Service from the nearby fire station located beside the market.
It was learnt that the fire consumed larger part of the market despite the presence of the men of the fire brigade service at the market during the inferno, a development which irked the youths leading to protest in and around the market and the adjourning Owode road.
Sources at the market stated that it took the intervention of fire fighters from Ogbomoso town, which is about 50 kilometers to Oyo before the fire incident could be brought under control.
During the protest, the youths were said to have stormed the fire station burning tyres in the process, before the security agents arrived the scene leading to commotion as it was alleged that during the fracas live bullets were used on the protesters.
As at the time of filing this report, the killers of the protesting youths could not be ascertained as the Oyo state Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) SP Olugbenga Fadeyi told Blueprint that the Policemen drafted to the market to maintain law and order did not use any bullet, not to talk of firing live bullets on the protesting youths.
SP Fadeyi said some hoodlums reportedly capitalised on the inferno to loot at the market and on sighting the police led to the scene by the Area Commander resolved to attack men of the state Police command so as to dislodge them from the area.
He said it was at the juncture that the suspected hoodlums reportedly fired shots killing three youths.
However, some of the protesting youths claimed that some of the operative of the Oyo state owned anti crime outfit, codenamed ‘Operations Burst’ drafted to the area allegedly fired the bullets that killed the youths.
Already, a youth group, Oyo Global Forum, has condemned the killing as well as the failure of the men of the Oyo state Fire Brigade Service to quickly avert the fire incident saying, a large part of the market would have been saved if the nearby fire station had functional equipment.
Describing the incident as disproportionate use of force in response to angry residents by the security operatives, the group in a statement signed by its Secretary, Mr Taiwo Hassan Adebayo, stressed that it would in due course demand from the government due compensation and rebuilding of the market.