Yenagoa: Explosions Hit Opposition Party Offices In Nigeria

Multiple pre-dawn explosions rocked opposition offices in oil-rich southern Nigeria, the latest in a wave of attacks ahead of April elections, police and the party said Monday.

The explosions went off at the Labour Party campaign offices in Bayelsa, President Goodluck Jonathan's home state.

No casualties were reported in the attack.

The party is fielding a former presidential adviser on the volatile Niger Delta, Timi Alaibe, to challenge incumbent governor Timipre Sylva.

Alaibe resigned from Jonathan's office last year to run for governor in Bayelsa in the April poll.

"There was an explosion at the Labour Party office in Ogbia in the night, but I can't give a specific time. The details are still sketchy and investigations are under way to try to identify the perpetrators," police spokesman Emokpae Eguavoen told AFP.

Residents said the explosion ocurred around 4:00 am (0300 GMT) and destroyed the office which had been slated for commissioning by Alaibe, hours later.{googleAds}
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The party's campaign chief Thalford Ongolo condemned "the politics of violence".

"We will neither be intimidated ... (nor) diverted from the goal of liberating the people of the state," said state party chairman Aduo Bobo.

It is the third time that Alaibe, who oversaw the government's amnesty programme for militants in the restive Niger Delta region, has been targeted in recent months.

Last month attackers targeted his rally as he returned home from the capital Abuja after resigning his post. Several people were killed and scores others wounded.

In November, explosives were used in an attack on his house, but no one was injured.

The state government said the latest explosion was a stunt to attract media attention as well as embarrass President Jonathan, who hails from Bayelsa state.

"They have once again introduced their favorite attention-grabbing technique with the detonation of explosives," said Bayelsa state spokesman Nathan Egba in a statement.

The Niger Delta is the heart of one of the world's largest oil industries, but criminal gangs and militants claiming to be fighting for a fairer distribution of oil revenues have carried out scores of attacks in the region.

Southern politicians have also been accused of co-opting gangs to carry out vote-rigging and violence in the struggle for local power.

Several weeks ago, twin explosions rocked a political rally for a different candidate, also in Bayelsa state.

Nigerians go to the polls in April to elect a president, lawmakers and state governors.




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