By Mary Amodu
Crisis was averted in the Dei-Dei axis of the Federal Capital Territory when hoodlums attacked the campaign convoy of the All Progressives Congress in the FCT on Saturday.
The APC campaign convoy which comprised the FCT Minister’s representative, the APC Chairman in the FCT, Abdulmalik Usman, the DG FCT Campaign Council, Hon. Musa Yahaya Mohammed, candidates of the party to various offices in the forthcoming election as well as other supporters, was attacked while on its way to the palace of the SerkinJiwa.
About nine vehicles in the convoy were set ablaze while several others had their windscreens smashed. Few individuals also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
The APC convoy was pelted with rocks and other deadly missiles, while vehicles among the convoy were set ablaze with Molotov cocktail, otherwise known as petrol bombs. Other motorists were also not spared as their vehicles suffered serious damages.
Although no life was lost, the timely intervention of the security personnel ensured that the situation did not escalate.
The hoodlums had laid a blockade around the Timber Market axis of the Dei Dei road and prevented the APC convoy from proceeding to the palace of the Sarkin Jiwa.
They were said to have taken advantage of a PDP rally which was also being held around the Dei Dei Timber Market, to unleash mayhem on the APC Campaign Convoy.
The security detail attached to the office of the FCT Minister and others covering the event however responded by firing shots in the air to calm the situation.
Unfortunately, the convoy was attacked again around the same spot while it was returning from the palace and heading to the grand finale of the APC FCT Campaign at the Old Parade Ground. It was during this second confrontation that 9 vehicles were set ablaze.
The security personnel were also quick to intervene this time firing several shots into the air to disperse the menacing attackers. Their intervention helped to create a brief window, which allowed the APC Campaign convoy to retreat and follow another route to safety. Nine vehicles that were not so fortunate were however set ablaze by the attackers. Others that made it to safety also had their windshields smashed.
Other motorists despite being not part of the convoy also had their windshields broken by flying objects which were hauled by the hoodlums from different directions. Only the intervention of the security operatives ensured that the situation did not result in total breakdown of law and order.
Billowing smokes from burning vehicles were seen high up in the sky during the melee which occurred in the afternoon and in the twilight of the day.
Eye witnesses said the unpro-voked attack on the APC campaign convoy was coordinated.
Reacting immediately after the incident, the Director Gene-ral, FCT APC Campaign Coun-cil, Hon. Musa Yahaya Mohammed, described the attack as unfortunate. He said intelligence information suggests that the attack may have been premeditated.
The DG was however quick to dispel the notion that some PDP supporters or ethnic elements were behind the attack. He said the ugly incident will be reported to the proper quarters to forestall a re-occurrence.
According to the DG, “I don’t consider it to be a crisis between two parties. It was a premeditated attack on the APC stalwarts but we didn’t have a privy knowledge of what was awaiting us. It’s quite unfortunate that it happened.
“On our way going, we were attacked and of course on our way coming back, we were also attacked. But as law abiding citizens, we retreated and took another route in order to avoid loss of lives. Unfortunately in the course of retreating, some of our vehicles were set ablaze.”
“Based on the report I gathered from the security personnel, about 9 of our vehicles were burned down. Some of the vehicles that escaped also had their windscreens smashed. Few individuals also sustained varying degrees of injuries.
“I believe that it’s a good omen that it happened before the election. It’s a pointer to the fact that we should be security conscious and make a security arrangement during the elections and of course after the elections,” the DG said.