Clashes and shootings broke out in Bori, a city of the Rivers State, after supporters of Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly tried to disrupt a rally by his political opponents.
"We woke this morning to see clashes and gun shots here in Bori as thugs suspected to be members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI) destroyed canopies, power generators and cars belonging to members of the Save Rivers Movement (SRM)," Keania Nwambo, a local resident, told Anadolu Agency.
GDI is a political organization allegedly bankrolled by Nigerian Education Minister Nyesom Wike, a protégé of the president.
Wike has been fighting with Rivers Governor Rotimi Amaechi, the founder of the SRM and a former PDP governor who has joined the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).
Fyneface Fyneface, a rights activist, said SRM had planned an inauguration of its executives in Khana council today but PDP/GDI loyalists have overpowered them.
"The ensuing clashes, cars, canopies we destroyed," he told AA.
"Police had arrived the scene but the SRM clearly see the police as complicit in the crisis," Fyneface said.
The clashes worsened at about 11:36am as participants at the SRM rally scampered for safety when, eyewitnesses said, reinforcement of thugs on both sides arrived.
At least five people are reported injured. No casualty is reported.
GDI President Bright Amaewhule insisted that his supporters had not disrupted the SRM rally in Bori.
"As I speak to you, we are holding a massive rally in Degema local government, so how come we are being fingered in the crisis engulfing an event held in another local government area," he told AA.
Police spokesman Ahmad Muhammad confirmed that police have been deployed to the scene of the clashes.
"Claims that police are complicit are not true," he told AA. "It is the claim by those fuelling the crisis."
Last Sunday, an anti-Jonathan senator, Magnus Abe, was badly injured by a rubber bullet allegedly fired by police while trying to stop a rally the SRM had called to mobilize for the opposition APC.
Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2014, 14:42