About 20 houses and shops were set ablaze by hoodlums suspected to be cultists in Idi-Arere/Sakapena area of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, in the early hours of yesterday.
The attack, which was believed to have been carried out by members of cult groups in a show of supremacy, led to huge financial losses to the victims.
The hoodlums reportedly reside within the community and its surrounding and were also said to have disagreements regularly.
Some of the razed buildings include fashion designers’ shops, electronics shops, frozen foods retail shops, cooking gas shops and clothing retail shops.
The attack, The Nation gathered, started around 2 a.m and lasted several minutes before the hoodlums were curtailed by policemen and members of a vigilance group.
The security agents shot sporadically into the air to announce their arrival to the suspected cultists but scared the residents.
The attackers were said to have looted some shops before razing them.
Shop owners received telephone calls about the attack at 5 a.m, making them to race to the scene.
The victims, who could not control their emotions, were said to have wailed uncontrollably on sighting the wrecks of their former shops.
The police command said it had arrested 11 suspects over the attack, adding that police had begun a 24-hour surveillance on the area.
Police spokesman Adekunle Ajisebutu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said: “Normalcy has been restored in the affected area. Police Commissioner Abiodun Odude has directed the policemen drafted to the area to carry out intensive patrol as well as 24 hours of surveillance to avoid further breakdown of law and order.
“While directing that the 11 suspects, including their ring leaders arrested, be charged to court immediately after conclusion of investigation. The police commissioner warned hoodlums and other criminals against wanton destruction of lives and property.”
Ajisebutu said investigation to determine the cause and motive behind the incident had also begun.