A 26 years old man identified as Iruo Ayebatonyo Jnr, was Monday shot dead while scores of others sustained various degrees of injuries in a bloody clash among youths of the Okpoama Community in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The deceased, who is identified as the Public Relations Officers (PRO) Okpoama Kingdom Youth Movement, was shot close to the neck region and died after arriving at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
The Okpoama community, which is the country home of the Former Governor, Hon. Timipre Sylva and the member of the State House of Assembly representing Brass constituency 1, Hon. Belemote Alfred Watson, was thrown into a bloody fight on Sunday night when two factions loyal to some members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) clashed.
It was gathered that a faction of the youth body, arrived the community at about 8pm on Sunday night, were attacked with shot on arrival at the waterside and they reportedly returned fire.
Sources said that the exchange of gunfire between the warring faction led to serious injuries and pandemonium in the community. The 25 years old spokesman was shot in the neck, while many others sustained deadly injuries.
Hon. Belemote Watson, the State Assembly member representing Brass Constituency II, has however condemned the shooting and maiming of peaceful youths of Okpoama Kingdom by suspected thugs and mercenaries, all in the name of Youth elections.
Hon. Watson has called on the King, the Kingdom Council of Chiefs, security agencies, the Kingdom Youth leadership and the Action Committee of Okpoama to do the needful by fishing out the perpetrators for disciplinary action.
Watson said “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”.
In his reaction, the Caretaker Chairman of the Brass Local Government Council, Hon. Victor Isiah, 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 Okpo-ama in events preceding the youth executive election scheduled to hold on Mon, February 6th, 2018, and i have directed for an immediate suspension of the election process till further notice”.
“My expedient decision is as a result of the rising tensions and already violent atmosphere characterizing the youth elections with a view to averting a palpable intra-communal crisis in the Kingdom. Following confidential security reports I received from Okpo-ama a fortnight ago, and after independently investigating and analysing the indicators, I duly consulted some principal actors involved in organisation of the election and I also alerted relevant security agencies to keep an eye on events so as to forestall any untoward development leading to the youth election”.
“However, with the sad development recorded today, i have resolved to set up a committee to mediate in the entire process and bring about a lasting peace in Okpo-ama kingdom. Therefore, i have directed all Security operatives in Twon-Brass to move and monitor the situation in Okpo-ama 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 called on indigenes of Okpo-ama 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”.
Contacted, the spokesman of the State Police Command, Mr. Asimin Butswat, confirmed that he was in consultation with the newly deployed Commissioner of Police over the incident.