A violent clash between two factions of youths of Okpoama community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa loyal to All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) has left one dead and many injured..
It was gathered that the deceased Iruo Ayebatonyo (Jnr.) who met his untimely death on Sunday was the Public Relations Officer of Okpoama Kingdom Youths Movement.
Ayebatonyo was reportedly shot at a close range in the neck and died shortly after arriving at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri for medical attention.
Former Governor Timipre Sylva and the member representing Brass Constituency 2 in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Belemote Watson hail from Okpoama.
It was learnt that a faction of the youth body that arrived the community at about 8pm on Sunday, was attacked with gunshots on arrival at the waterside and they reportedly returned fire.
Sources said that the exchange of gunfire between the warring factions led to serious injuries and the attendant pandemonium in the community.
They said that the 25-year-old late spokesman was shot in the neck, while many others sustained varying degrees of injuries and expressed fears that some of them might not survive the attacks.
The representative of the constituency in state Assembly, Watson in a reaction to the development condemned the incident.
He decried the killing and maiming of peaceful youths of Okpoama by suspected thugs and mercenaries in the name of youths’ election.
Watson called on the King, the Council of Chiefs, security agencies, the youth leadership and the Action Committee of Okpoama to do the needful by fishing out the perpetrators of the dastardly act for disciplinary action.
“The peace of Okpoama Kingdom is sacrosanct and we cannot afford to live in fear in our communities. We cannot be taken hostage by suspected thugs and mercenaries”. Watson said,
In his reaction, the Caretaker Chairman of the Brass LGA, Victor Isaiah, has ordered the immediate suspension of the youth executive election in the area.
“I received with total dismay the unfortunate news of violence and public unrest in Okpoama in events preceding the youth executive election scheduled to hold on Monday
“I have directed for an immediate suspension of the election process until further notice.
“My expedient decision is as a result of the rising tensions and already violent atmosphere characterising the youth elections with a view to averting a palpable intra-communal crisis in the Kingdom.
“Following confidential security reports I received from Okpoama a fortnight ago, and after independently investigating and analyzing the indicators, I duly consulted some principal actors involved in organisation of the election.
“I also alerted relevant security agencies to keep an eye on events in order to forestall any untoward development leading to the youth election.
“However, with the sad development recorded on Sunday, I have resolved to set up a committee to mediate in the entire process and bring about a lasting peace in Okpoama kingdom.
“Therefore, I have directed all security operatives in Twon-Brass to move and monitor the situation in Okpoama to ensure maintenance of peace, law and order in the Kingdom.
“I wish to use this medium to thank the security operatives especially the police for their prompt response to the situation.
“I also want to call on indigenes of Okpoama Kingdom to go about their lawful duties and shun acts capable of disrupting the peace of the area as the situation has been well contained.” Isaiah said
In his reaction to the incident, former Governor Timipre Sylva, has called for peace in Okpoama.
Sylva in a statement by his Media Adviser, Doifie Buokoribo, deplored the violence, describing it as unwarranted, unfortunate and strange to the hitherto peaceful people.
“In the unfortunate incident that occurred on Sunday, February 4, 2018, over the election of youth executives in the kingdom, lawless elements procured by an interested party shot and maimed some youths.
“As at Monday, one youth leader who sustained serious injuries had died.
“Sylva deplores the violence, describing it as unwarranted, unfortunate and strange to the hitherto peaceful community.
“He condoles with the family of the dead and prays for the quick recovery of the injured. He wonders at the level of desperation that would make some youths to spill blood, the blood of their fellow youths, in order to control the kingdom’s youth body.
“Sylva calls on the leadership of the community to work with the security agencies to ensure that all those involved in this violence are brought to book without delay.
“The former governor reiterates the need for peace in the community, tasking all stakeholders to do everything within their powers to restore lasting order.” The statement read in part.
Police Public Relations Officer, Bayelsa State Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed the incident but said that said he was yet to be properly briefed on the incident.
The Police Spokesman said he was in consultation with the Commissioner of Police over the incident.