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Gunmen attack Jonathan’s country home

By Julius Osahon (Yenagoa), Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt), Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Adamu Abuh (Abuja)
25 December 2019   |   4:07 am
The Otuoke country home of former President Goodluck Jonathan was yesterday attacked by unknown gunmen in Ogbia Local Council of Bayelsa State.

• Buhari, Lawan, APC, PDP, PANDEF, IYC deplore incident, urge probe
The Otuoke country home of former President Goodluck Jonathan was yesterday attacked by unknown gunmen in Ogbia Local Council of Bayelsa State.

A source in the town said the assailants struck around 3:00a.m., killing a soldier and injuring another.

They were said to have accessed the community through the river linking it with Otuaba settlement before reportedly attacking the gunboat that was stationed there.

Consequently, all adjoining roads were reportedly cordoned off by military personnel.

Reacting to the development via a statement, the media aide to the Nigerian ex-leader, Ikechukwu Eze, said: “They came in about 1:30 am on Tuesday (yesterday) and attempted to take away a gunboat belonging to the military stationed at the creek beside the residence.

“They were, however, resisted by the gallant soldiers who engaged them in a gun battle.

“The gunmen who could not stand the firepower of the military were forced to beat a retreat. One soldier, unfortunately, lost his life in the fight while another was injured.”

He said the injured soldier was receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa, the state capital.

Eze went on: “The former president who was not in Otuoke at the time of the attack however returned to his village early this morning (yesterday) to assess the situation.

“Dr. Jonathan promptly condemned the attack and reassured his people that there was no cause for alarm.

“The ex-president has also condoled with the family of the deceased soldier, the military and has urged the concerned security authorities to swing into action and bring the culprits to book.”

However, the spokesman of the military task force, Operation Delta Safe, Major Jonah Unuakhalu, who confirmed the incident, added that preliminary investigation had begun to identify the perpetrators.

He said: “At about 0300hrs (3:00a.m.) today (yesterday), unknown gunmen attacked our gunboat deployed close to the house of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“The vigilant troops repelled the attack while some of the assailants escaped with gunshot wounds. However, during the attack, one soldier paid the supreme price and another wounded in action.

“The wounded has been evacuated to the hospital and is responding to treatment. Preliminary investigation is ongoing to identify the persons or groups behind the attack.”

Also contacted, the spokesman for the state police command, SP Asinim Butswat, declined comments, stating that he would not want to meddle in military affairs.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Ahmad Lawan, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) have deplored the incident.

Buhari, who personally called his predecessor, described the event as “tragic and unfortunate.”

Lawan made its position known in a statement by his media Adviser, Ola Awoniyi.

In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, the ruling party urged the security agencies to unravel the attackers.

The PDP equally spoke through its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.

PANDEF’s secretary general, Dr. Alfred Mulade, said the high-profile attack depicts that nobody was safe anymore.

Also in a statement by its president, Eric Omare, IYC sought immediate probe of the incident.