The bandana-wearing militants, who were reportedly more than 100, carried out series of attacks on houses in the Elepete and Kajola areas of Ogun State, and the Igbo Olomu community of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
Both the Lagos and Ogun communities are adjoining.
Gunshots were said to have been fired by the militants as people fled to safety.
Schools and commercial centres were hurriedly shut.
The number of casualties could, however, not be ascertained as of press time.
A resident in Igbo Olomu said streets in the area were deserted as people fled their homes, adding that shops, markets and other business centres in the community had been locked.
A source said, “Elepete, Kajola and Igbo Olomu areas have been under attack. Early this morning, the militants, numbering close to 200, invaded the streets with sophisticated weapons. They appeared to have come from different areas. They tied bandanas and came in through the waterways.
“They attacked people and raped some women. They stole money and killed some residents. People ran helter-skelter.”
The source, who is a community leader, said soldiers and policemen had been deployed in the area.
He, however, added that residents were surprised when the police team turned back after getting to the troubled spot.
He explained that when he challenged the leader of the police team, the policeman told him there was nothing happening in the area to warrant the deployment of the team in the area.
“But there has been serious tension. People are leaving the community on motorcycles every minute. Thousands of people have left the community,” he added.
We gathered from another source that the militants were demanding the release of the corpses of two of their members allegedly killed by some officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in a hotel in Elepete village, last Friday.
The source said the militants had vowed to continue unleashing mayhem until the bodies were released.
He said, “The problem started when some SARS officers killed two of the militants last Friday in a hotel in Elepete. We gathered that the militants had actually gone to rob a place, but their faces were captured by CCTV cameras. When a landlord in Elepete sighted them in the hotel, he gave the police information of their presence in the hotel.
“The militants, on sighting the police in the hotel, tried to open fire, but the SARS operatives were quicker. The SARS officers killed two of them and arrested others, including the owner of the hotel. They took the corpses away.
“As a reprisal, the militants attacked Elepete village from Friday night till Saturday morning. They killed no fewer than 15 people. Today’s attack is a continuation and it appeared they reinforced.”
The Olumushin of Imushin, Oba Taiwo Bamgbose, appealed to the Ogun and Lagos state governments to investigate the case and bring peace to the areas.
He asked that the hotel owner, who was arrested by the SARS operatives, be released.
He said, “I am the one in charge of Elepete village. The place is completely deserted. We only heard that the militants came, but we didn’t see anything. There has been serious chaos, I want the government to intervene and rescue our people.
“I heard that the militants want to come to see me to help beg the government to release the corpses of their colleagues, but I have yet to see them; it is just hearsay.
“The government should investigate this matter properly. Who are the SARS policemen that invaded the hotel? The hotel owner, who was arrested by the SARS team, should be released to explain what truly happened in the hotel that Friday.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmus, confirmed the attacks, saying the police, with the support of some soldiers, repelled the militants.
She said, “The command, in the early hours of Monday, received a report that some hoodlums were trying to gain access into the communities. We swiftly moved in, with the support of the military. We were able to repel them. They retreated into the creeks. There is no record of death on Monday. The command is on the ground in the area. We are constantly patrolling the communities.”