- Title: NIGERIA: Political violence rocks Niger Delta during gubernatorial re-run
- Date: 11th January 2011
- Summary: YENAGAO, BAYELSA STATE, NIGERIA (JANUARY 7, 2011) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF POLITICAL RALLY (AUDIO OF GUNSHOT) AND VARIOUS SUPPORTERS MAN WHO WAS STABBED WITH BLOOD ON CLOTHING VARIOUS OF CARS WITH WINDSCREENS SHATTERED BY ATTACKERS BILLBOARD ADVERTISING POLITICAL CAMPAIGN OF FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON NIGER DELTA AND CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, TIMI ALAIBE (SOUNDBITE) (English) TIMI ALAIBE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER ON NIGER DELTA AND CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, SAYING: "We believed that this is what we want to stamp out in this state, so no amount of bombs, intimidation and AK47's will deter us from casting our votes." MAN KILLED DURING THE ATTACK ON THE POLITICAL RECEPTION OF TIMI ALAIBE SOLDER HITTING ONE OF SUSPECTS SOME OF ALLEGED ATTACKERS IN POLICE VEHICLE AFTER ARREST SECURITY OFFICERS AND VEHICLES IN THE AREA
- Embargoed: 26th January 2011 12:00
- Location: Nigeria, Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5PXXES9XBZM94NPXT6SDLC8RL
- Story Text: Gunmen killed several supporters of a politician in Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta on Friday (January 7) during a gathering at his home, the latest act of political violence ahead of elections in April.
Supporters of Timi Alaibe, who quit as presidential adviser on the Niger Delta last month to run for the governorship of Bayelsa state, were attacked during a reception to welcome him back from the capital Abuja.
Initial reports said two people were killed by attackers armed with guns and machetes, but witnesses later said they believed four people died and two were critically injured.
Africa's most populous nation has been rocked by pockets of violence around the country in recent weeks and there are fears of further unrest as it prepares for presidential, parliamentary and state government elections in April.
The Niger Delta, home to the continent's biggest oil and gas industry, is a potential flashpoint and Bayelsa -- President Goodluck Jonathan's home state -- is particularly volatile.
Two bombs exploded during a political rally there just over a week ago.
The Niger Delta is home to thousands of former militants, responsible for years of kidnapping and attacks on oil facilities, who are meant to be undergoing retraining and reintegration following a 2009 government amnesty. But the region remains awash with weapons and many of the armed gangs behind the unrest were originally sponsored by politicians who used them to help rig elections and intimidate voters. There are fears history will repeat itself.
There is a bitter rivalry between Alaibe, who was the main man on the ground responsible for implementing the amnesty, and Bayelsa governor Timipre Sylva, who saw himself politically overshadowed by Alaibe's success with the programme. Alaibe quit to challenge Sylva for the governorship.
Beyond local politics, there are also fears of unrest in the oil region if President Goodluck Jonathan -- the first head of state from the Ijaw ethnic group, the largest in the Niger Delta -- fails to win ruling party primaries next week ahead of the April polls.
Jonathan's candidacy is controversial because he is from the mostly Christian south and some say a pact in the ruling party on power sharing among the country's main regions mean the next leader should be from the predominantly Muslim north.
A re-run of a governorship election in Delta state, which neighbours Bayelsa, passed without major unrest on Thursday, although the defeated candidate complained of irregularities.
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