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Bandits struck again in Ekiti State, South West of Nigeria on Monday, sending two traditional rulers to their early graves in what appeared to be a failed attempt to kidnap them.

Police in the state however disagree with eyewitnesses that they were kidnappers, saying it was a case of “suspected murder.”

The monarchs involved include the Elesun of Esun-Ekiti, David Ogunsakin, and Alara of Ara-Ekiti, Adebayo Fatoba, both of Ikole-Ekiti local government area of the state, and the Onimojo of Imojo-Ekiti, Olatunde Olusola, from Oye local government area of the state.

Sources say the Alara of Ara in Ikole Local Government escaped when the armed men accosted them and attempted to forcefully take them away.

The incident occured on Monday evening between Oke-Ako and Ipao Ekiti, in Ajoni Local Government area.

The monarchs were coming from a meeting when the incident happened.

The source said the armed herdsmen stopped them and rained bullets on them.

He said the attackers were armed Fulani herdsmen who had been operating in that area in the last five years.

He also said Amotekun operatives were immediately called in for a search of the area.

The Chairman of the Ajoni Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Micheal Ogungbemi, confirmed the incident.

Mr Ogungbemi, while lamenting the incident said that local security operatives and the Amotekun Corps had been mobilized to go after the perpetrators and arrest them.

“I just returned from the scene of the unfortunate incident along Oke-Ako Road and I can confirm that two traditional rulers, the Elesun of Esun-Ekiti and Onimojo of Imojo-Ekiti were killed by the gunmen who ambushed them,” he said.

“The Alara of Ara-Ekiti managed to escape from the incident. He was the one driving when the incident happened.

“We have evacuated the remains of the monarchs and deposited them in the morgue at the Ikole General Hospital.

“Our local security outfit and Amotekun have been drafted to the scene and the bush to arrest the bandits who committed this dastardly act.”

While lamenting incessant kidnapping in the axis, he appealed to the federal government to approve usage of sophisticated arms for local security outfits in the state.

“I am extremely sad with the situation and I want to call on the government to allow our local security network to carry arms because the traditional ruler who escaped told us the gunmen were carrying AK-47 and other dangerous weapons. These people are killing us and it is becoming unbearable,” he added.

When contacted the Police Public Relations Officer for Ekiti State, Sunday Abutu, confirmed the incident but said the incident was a suspected case of murder.

“It is a suspected case of murder and the Command has commenced investigation in order to unmask those behind the incident, apprehend them and bring them to book,” he said.

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