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One feared dead, several injured as PDP campaign rally turns violent in Bayelsa

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One person was feared killed yesterday in Nembe Ogbolomabiri in Nembe Local Council of Bayelsa State as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial campaign rally turned bloody after it was disrupted by sporadic gunshots.

There was pandemonium as the serious shooting by the unknown armed men rocked the King Koko Square venue of the campaign where party supporters were waiting for dignitaries to arrive.

This is coming just a day after unknown gunmen ambushed and killed two policemen in Otuogodi, Ogbia Local Council of the state. The gunmen also went away with their rifles.

A journalist, who took refuge in the bush for hours, described the massive shoot-out as a replica of a war movie.

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He said: “Some journalists covering the rally were also caught in the crossfire as many others sustained different degree of injuries. Governor Seriake Dickson was billed to attend the rally in company of the candidate of the party, Senator Douye Diri.”

A driver of Outside Broadcasting Van (OB Van) attached to Radio Bayelsa, Simon Onu, was hit by a stray bullet and died on the spot.

Many others were said to have sustained injuries while trying to escape from the scene.

Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Seriake Dickson, Fidelis Soriwei, who confirmed Onu’s death, blamed the incident on the activities of All Progressives Congress (APC) thugs.

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, adding: “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.”

But the Director-General, Timipreye Sylva 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 had already rounded off its rallies with a grand finale 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 realised 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 weapons in police and other military uniforms and 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.”


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