By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Yet to fully recover from the carnage that characterised the last governorship election in the state a few months ago, another bloody clash between supporters of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) at the weekend left two persons dead and many injured in Bayelsa State.
During the violence which took place in Bassambiri, Nembe Local Government Area of the state, THISDAY learnt that many vehicles were burnt while dangerous weapons were freely used.
Many of the injured were said to have been rushed to Gloryland hospital, Yenagoa, where they are currently in the Intensive Care Unit, battling for their lives.
Statements made by politicians during a wake in honour of a popular indigene of the area, who had just died, allegedly triggered the carnage that effectively ended the ceremony.
Trouble reportedly started when some PDP supporters led by the newly appointed Caretaker Chairman, Mr. Walter Kuroekigha, started chanting his party slogans which allegedly provoked the APC members at the ceremony.
Attempts to make the PDP chief halt the sloganeering, it was gathered, led to confusion as the party’s supporters also tried to stop the APC loyalists, thereby resulting in a bloody clash.
In the violence that ensued, two persons were reportedly hacked to death with cutlasses, while many others sustained various degrees of injuries in the area which became notorious for clashes and attendant heavy shootings during last January’s rescheduled governorship poll.
An APC stalwart in the community, Melford Esinte, who expressed disgust over the bloody clash, called on security agencies to protect the lives and property of the people in the area to avoid further escalation of the mayhem due to reprisal attacks.
He noted that the anger caused by the clash may not have simmered, and called on the government to make sure that there was adequate surveillance to make sure that the situation was brought under immediate control.
In its reaction, the state government noted that whoever carried out the attacks for whatever reason would not be absolved of the blame, noting that such violence was unacceptable.
While calling on residents of the area to embrace peace, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, who responded on behalf of the government, condemned the renewed violence in the area.
“We condemn in strong terms the gruesome attack on members of the PDP or any citizen by the APC which has led to the death of one person and we say this is one attack too many.
‘’As I speak to you, innocent Nigerians (Bayelsans) lie critically at the Glory Land Hospital in Yenagoa fighting for their lives,’’ Obuebite said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Asinim Butswat Asinim, confirmed that there was a clash in Nembe, but said there was no official report that somebody died in the incident.
He said two vehicles and two motorcycles were burnt in the melee, adding that a detachment of policemen had been deployed in the area to avert any further violence.
Butswat promised that the police were restoring normalcy in the troubled community and asked residents of the area to go about their normal duties as the security agencies were capable of handling the situation.
Calls made to the factional spokesman of the APC in Bayelsa, Fortune Panebi, were neither answered nor returned.