At least six persons were reportedly killed and several others injured in a gun duel between security agents and suspected criminals at the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship campaign rally in Ihiala local government area of Anambra State on Tuesday.
An eyewitness told journalists that gunmen stormed the Odoata Primary School venue of the rally on three vehicles and various motorcycles but were repelled by security agents.
He said the state Governor, Willie Obiano, was also trapped in the ensuing melee.
“The governor’s convoy was held for about one hour while gunshots were booming everywhere in the area. They did not attack the convoy but security men.
“During the gun duel, some security operatives were felled and some gunmen were equally killed. We know those who were killed would be more than six,” he said.
The spokesman of the state police command, Ikenga Tochukwu, confirmed the incident.
He said one AK 47 rifle, 30 rounds of ammunition, two magazines, and four vehicles were recovered from the hoodlums.
The spokesman was however silent on the number of casualties of the attack.
Meanwhile, the state government has dismissed the report that Governor Obiano’s convoy was attacked by the gunmen.
In a statement issued by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, James Eze, the government urged the people of the state to disregard the report.
The statement read: “We wish to inform the general public that the report is a blatant lie without a shred of truth in it. The fact is that when some gunmen engaged security operatives in a shootout in Ihiala today, Governor Obiano was attending a pre-scheduled political rally in Ogbaru Local Government Area along with Prof Chukwuma Soludo, the standard-bearer of the All progressives Grand Alliance in the November 6, 2021, gubernatorial election in the state.
“The Ogbaru campaign was highly successful with a large turn of party members and supporters who came to reassure Prof Soludo and APGA of their support in the coming election. There was not a single incident of violence in the campaign venue and its surroundings and Governor Obiano and his fellow party men and women all went home peacefully after the rally.
“The report that Governor Obiano’s convoy was attacked is obviously false and should be disregarded by well-meaning members of the society.
“Governor Obiano deeply regrets the shootout at Ihiala today and the attendant loss of lives. He calls on all the politicians involved in the ongoing electioneering campaign in the state to join hands with him in calming the political temperature of the state in order to ensure a peaceful and fair election on November 6, 2021.”
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