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Hell was let loose in Ejigbo and Mafoluku areas of Lagos State yesterday, as street urchins popularly called 'Area Boys' unleashed violence.

In the melee, four persons were feared killed and over 50 people injured. About 20 vehicles were vandalized during the clash by the factional gangs, who were fighting over toll collection at a plank bridge linking Ajao Estate with Ejigbo area of the state.

Over100 houses were also raided by the hoodlums during the free-for-all as they cashed in on the crisis to rob residents of the areas.

Lagos has recorded an upsurge of gang clashes in recent times, which had claimed about 50 lives. Affected areas include Lagos Island, Palmgrove, Iyana Ipaja and Obalende.

Trouble started on Monday night when a member of a faction of the street urchins, who was collecting N10 toll from pedestrians crossing from Ajao Estate to Ejigbo, had a disagreement with an Igbo man simply identified as Chukwuma.

Chukwuma was said to have given the Area boy N1, 000 note and was asked to come back to collect his balance of N990.

He was, however denied of his balance on his return, a development that made him raise the alarm.

His alarm was said to have attracted members of other faction of the Area boys, who claimed that it was their right to collect the toll. In the process, they engaged the other faction in a serious argument.

But angered by the action of Chukwuma, a member of the faction that was owing him N990 hit him with an object, which made him to slump and died instantly.

It was at this point that the two factions engaged themselves in a serious fight that later led to the death of one of them simply identified as Jamiu. Many others were said to have been injured.

The faction that lost Jamiu later regrouped and stormed the Mafoluku area for a reprisal attack at the wee hour of yesterday.

However, members of the opposing gang were said to have anticipated the reprisal and engaged their attackers, which led to the loss of another three lives.

Residents said dangerous weapons like guns, machetes, broken bottles and cudgels were freely used by the hoodlums. At the end of the clash, 20 vehicles were vandalized with over 100 houses raided by the hoodlums.

As at Press time, many residents of the areas have fled their homes for fear of fresh attack.

Few residents, who spoke with Daily Sun on condition of anonymity, pleaded with the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yakubu Alkali and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) to come to their aid as they were not sure of what would happen next.

A resident, who simply identified himself as Kabiru, appealed to the state government to sack the hoodlums from the pedestrian bridge, saying they have made life miserable to the people of the two areas.

Kabiru, who claimed he received a machete cut for refusing to open the door of his house to the hoodlums, who were making house-to-house raid, wondered why the police did not respond on time during the attack.

Police spokesman in the state, Mr. Jaiyeoba Joseph, confirmed the incident, but said only one person was killed. He said the police were on top of the situation as the areas have been taken over, urging residents to remain calm as the situation is under control.

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