A driver of Outside Broadcasting Van (OB Van) attached to Radio Bayelsa, Simon Onu, has been reportedly killed in a clash between thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State.
Many others were said to have sustained injuries while trying to escape from the violent scene.
Fidelis Soriwei, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Seriake Dickson, who confirmed the death of Onu blamed the incident on the activities of APC thugs.
But sources from the APC said some PDP leaders, who came for a rally at Nembe imported thugs that carried out the attacks to intimidate members of the APC in the area known to be the party’s stronghold.
The rally, which Dickson was expected to attend in Nembe Ogbolomabiri was said to have been disrupted by massive shootouts described by sources as a replica of a war movie.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said serious shooting by unidentified armed men rocked the King Koko Square, venue of the PDP governorship campaign while supporters were waiting for the arrival of dignitaries.
He said: “Some journalists covering the rally were also caught in the cross fire as many others have sustained different degree of injury. Governor Seriake Dickson was billed to attend the rally in company with the candidate of the party, Senator Douye Diri”.
Soriwei in a Facebook post said thugs led by some APC leaders fired at members of the PDP in a bid to prevent the gubernatorial rally of the party.
He said: “The attackers also opened fire at the Protocol bus of the Bayelsa State Government House at a junction between Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri.
“One of the PDP members died of gunshot injuries while several others sustained serious injuries and have been rushed to the hospital.
“Meanwhile, Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has insisted that the rally must go on. The Governor who condemned the violence urged the security agencies to take full control of the situation for the PDP rally to hold peacefully”.
But the Director-General, TimireSylva Support Organisation, Wilfred Ogbotobo, said that the PDP members were the aggressors adding that the party leaders invaded the community with thugs to chase away members of the APC.
Ogbotobo said some APC members were injured in the attack wondering the reason for the campaign in Nembe when the party rounded off their rallies with a grand finale held in Yenagoa.
He said: “The PDP leaders did not go to Nembe for any campaign. It was a premeditated plan to chase out APC members and supporters from the community, having realized their rejection and imminent failure at the poll.
“As soon as they arrived the community they started chanting war songs, destroying APC banners and billboards and taunted APC members in their support bases.
They came with weapon wielding mercenaries from other places in Police and other military uniforms who started harassing APC members without provocation.
“Their intentions were to precipitate crisis and render the whole Nembe unsafe for the election. The public should disregard their habitual lies and infantile propaganda. Nembe people have rejected Seriake Dickson and his restoration agenda.
“They are known trouble mongers. They are out to deceive their master to get quick cash. They know quite well that Nembe is too big a place that they can easily conquer for their failed Dickson”.
Also members of the APC accused a member of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly elected on the platform of PDP of leading a violent attack against them at Igbogene, the residential area of the APC Candidate, David Lyon in Yenagoa.
They said some of them sustained injuries from the attack and called on security agencies especially the police to arrest the lawmaker.
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Asinim Butswat, proved abortive as he could not answer calls routed to his telephone.