Over the week, youths in Akure, Ondo State, went on rampage, setting the headquarters of Sotitobire Miracle Centre on fire over alleged lack of remorse over the disappearance of one-year-old Gold Kolawole during Sunday Service in the church which reportedly happened over a month ago.
It was reported that four persons, including a policeman, an Okada rider and an onlooker were killed in the over five hours’ rampage.
But the police confirmed the death of their officer and a motorcyclist. The missing boy had been taken to the church by her mother, Modupe Kolawole, on November 10 for spiritual deliverance but went missing during service inside the church.
While the deceased police officer was reportedly mobbed while trying to ward off the youths who invaded the church premises Wednesday morning, the other casualties were victims of stray bullets.
It was gathered that a rumour that operatives of the DSS who arrested the General Overseer, Prophet Babatunde Alfa, were in the church to exhume the corpse of the missing child from the altar sparked the unrest.
Residents of the area, in their hundreds, had mobilized to the Osinle area of the state capital where the church is located to have a glimpse of the rumoured exhumation.
But what they met infuriated them more as the leaders of the church were reportedly in the midst of a church programme where they were praying against the incarceration of their General Overseer.
The youths challenged the church leaders.
The exchange degenerated into a shouting match which eventually snowballed into the burning of the church.
Members of the church fled in different directions while the police and other security operatives deployed to the riotous scene were harassed and molested which forced the operatives to retreat.
According to findings, about six houses and five vehicles parked in the church premises were burnt by the mob.
The youths in fact waited to ensure that the houses and cars were completely razed before they headed for Alfa’s private residence where they also damaged the building and over six posh vehicles parked inside.
Alfa’s family members and security guards who got wind of attack on the residence at Oda Road fled.
While the youths wreaked havoc, Alfa was in detention at the Akure office of the Department of State Services, DSS. He was arrested for questioning over a week before the ugly incident, following a petition reportedly written by the parents of the missing child.
Operatives of the agency have equally arrested other pastors, security guards and children teachers on duty when the boy went missing.