One man has been killed while 18 others sustained injuries during a clash by political thugs in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital on Saturday.
Spokesman for the state Police Command, Muhammad Shehu, who confirmed the incident on Sunday, October 16, said the groups were suspected to be members of APC and PDP in the state.
“Discreet investigation into the case has commenced aimed at ensuring that the perpetrators face the full wrath of the law.” he added.
Mr Shehu’s confirmation followed an allegation by the APC that thugs suspected to have been hired by the PDP attacked and killed one man and injured 18 others without reason.
The APC’s allegation is contained in a statement issued by Yusuf Idris, the party’s publicity secretary in Gusau on Saturday.
“It is highly disheartening and worrisome the attack with firearms perpetrated by PDP thugs. The thugs came as the PDP Zamfara Governorship candidate’s boys and shot at innocent youths who were carrying out their monthly sanitation work in GRA area of Gusau, the Zamfara state capital,” Idris said.
He claimed that victims were attacked because they were APC supporters.
“We are calling for calm by the good citizens of the state who were angered by the thugs. We wish to call on both the state government and security agents to urgently fish out the culprits and bring them to book to prevent reprisals,” he added.
Mr Idris urged security agencies to also uncover how and where the alleged attackers secured such dangerous firearms.
“A stitch in time, saves nine and a word is always enough for the wise,” he said.
Meanwhile, the state deputy governor, Hassan Nasiha, had visited the victims of the attack at the Specialist Hospital, Gusau to ascertain their condition.
He confirmed that one live was lost while 18 others sustained various degrees of bullet wounds.
He said it was the fear of such breach of law and order that the Zamfara Government announced a halt on campaign activities and rallies by political parties in the state.
The deputy governor, however, said that the state government would investigate the matter and resolve on next line of action.
He assured of government’s resolve to punish whoever was found involved in the attack.
Nasiha consoled with the victims of the incident and promised that the government would not fold it’s arms and watch that happen again.
Meanwhile the PDP in its response, said that its governorship candidate, Dauda Lawal-Dare, only had a small meeting to receive defectors from the 14 local government areas of the state.
The party’s deputy chairman, Mukhtar Lugga, said shortly after the event, that the party received 50 defectors from each of the 14 local government areas.
On the issue of halting rallies as announced by the state government, Lugga said PDP’s activity was within the ambit of the law and in line with the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.
According to him, the party was guided by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s guidelines and time table for rallies and electioneering campaigns.
“We have applied for security and the Commissioner of Police and the Commandant Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps deployed their men that ensured successful activity of our great party,” he said.
Mr Lugga expressed concern at the activities of some criminal elements who allegedly attacked some PDP youths during the event.
He claimed that two of its youths were also reportedly shot in front of the Campaign Office of the governorship candidate in the state capital.
The PDP officials conducted newsmen round the emergency unit of the Specialist hospital where two victims with fractured legs and other wounds were also receiving medical attention.
Mr Lugga, however, said that the party would investigate the alleged killing of an APC youth and injuring of 18 others and take appropriate action.
The vice chairman said the party was a law-abiding institution, assuring that their activity did not go against the INEC guidelines.
“There was no information from the INEC halting political rallies or political events in Zamfara state,” Mr Lugga added.