Blast rocks Nigerian poll candidate’s guesthouse

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 Attackers threw dynamite into a guesthouse in the southern Nigerian oil city of Yenagoa on Tuesday owned by an opposition candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections, but nobody was seriously injured.

 

The attack happened at a hostel owned by Peremobowei Ebebi, a former deputy state governor and member of the opposition Labour Party who is standing for a Senate seat in parliamentary elections set for Saturday.

“I was out at the restaurant when I heard an explosion. I ran to check and found that dynamite had been thrown through the fence,” guesthouse manager Bail Timi told Reuters.

A Reuters correspondent said windows were shattered and walls cracked by the explosion but there was no major structural damage to the three-storey building. Security forces cordoned off streets in the area.

The attack underscores the risks in the restive oil-producing Niger Delta during parliamentary, presidential and state governorship polls being held across Africa’s most populous nation this month.

Bayelsa state, of which Yenagoa is the capital, has already seen bombs and shootings at political rallies in recent months.

The state governorship race is particularly fierce, with incumbent Timipre Sylva, from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), facing a challenge from former presidential adviser Timi Alaibe of the Labour Party.

In January, gunmen killed several of Alaibe’s supporters at his home while the Labour Party office in Yenagoa was bombed after the state governorship primaries a week later.

Ebebi himself is a controversial figure. He was once Sylva’s deputy but the two fell out and became locked in a bitter and sometimes violent power struggle before Ebebi was impeached over allegations of corruption last year.

Gunmen in speedboats attacked Ebebi’s home last July, while the same guesthouse that was firebombed on Tuesday was also hit by a car bomb last May.

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