Three people have reportedly died following a violent clash between rival cult groups during the Osun Osogbo festival.
The deadly clash led to varying degrees of injuries on 12 other persons when fighting broke out during the grand finale of the acclaimed international traditional festival.
The reason for the clash and the identity of the dead victims have not yet been ascertained, but DAILY POST reports that hoodlums were seen publicly brandishing different types of dangerous weapons.
The hoodlums who came in large numbers also disrupted the festivities, creating panic among residents and tourists around the Jaleyemi and Isale-Osun areas of Osogbo.
Confirming the incident, the Chairman of the Hunters Group of Nigeria, Ahmed Nureni, said three bodies were sighted around the grove while 10 members of the group were also injured.
Nureni also revealed that the office of Hunters and Forest Security Service located along the road was attacked and vandalised with its personnel injured.
“We sighted three dead bodies, though we don’t know their identities. Meanwhile, our office in the Jaleyemi area was also vandalised and in the process, the ten personnel were injured.”
The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba land, Iba Gani Adams also frowned at the development.
Adams who made this known while addressing members of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC also described the cult clash as an invasion of the Osun grove aimed at tarnishing the international status of the Osun Osogbo festival.
He stressed the need for stakeholders to ensure adequate security for tourists and visitors to safeguard the sanctity of the spiritual festival.
“It is unfortunate that cultists and miscreants have been taking advantage of the hospitality of the festival to create a platform for cult rivalry, which the Osun goddess abhors and we must collectively stop the trend.
“This is an opportunity for Osun and Nigeria to attract tourism development. Osun-Osogbo is renowned globally and we must protect and project it to the whole world.”
Adams warned that nothing must hinder the advancement of the festival and Yoruba tradition.
Witnesses, however, claim the violence started when a member of the Hunters Group of Nigeria allegedly struck an OPC leader with a charmed ring.