There were sounds of gunshots and uproar in Idanre on Wednesday night, as supporters of aspirants to the Ondo State House of Assembly clashed.
The police in Ondo confirmed that no life was lost in the shootout, as they were able to contain the conflict.
Witnesses said many were injured as thugs ambushed supporters of the House of Assembly aspirant, Tosin Ogunlowo, a member of the APC.
The supporters were reportedly returning from the APC Secretariat in Akure in a convoy when the hoodlums descended on them with guns and machetes at Italorun village along the Idanre-Akure road.
“The aspirant was returning from Akure to Idanre where she went to submit her nomination form, with her supporters,” a witness, who did not want to be named for fear of being attacked, said.
“So along the road, the thugs came out and attacked them with guns, cutlasses, and broken bottles and they inflicted injuries on her supporters.
“They also vandalised the vehicles in the convoy.”
He, however, noted that the aspirant escaped the attack unhurt while they rushed those injured to the hospital for treatment.
One victim, Gbodi Bamidele, who is also the leader of the Idanre Local Government Legislative Council, said a thug, popularly known as ‘Prof’, sponsored the attack.
“We were coming from Akure, where our aspirant went to submit her nomination form. When we got to Oja Anaye, one of the thugs called Prof came with others to attack us,” Mr Bamidele said.
“They came with guns, bottles of beer, and cutlasses. Our members were seriously injured. They have been taken to the hospital.”
But the police spokesperson in the state, Funmilayo Odunlami, described the incident as a fight between supporters of two aspirants in the area.
She said the police had intervened and calmed the situation.
“There was an altercation between the supporters of two aspirants in the area. It led to a shootout,” said Mrs Odunlami.
“The police from Idanre Division were able to maintain peace while the victims have been taken to the hospital.”
The incident is the first major violence leading up to the 2023 general elections in the state.
Idanre local government is noted for violence; before and during major elections.
During the local government elections in the town, held in August 2020, there were several clashes between political parties, leading to injuries and the destruction of properties.
Thugs also attacked the SDP secretariat and manhandled party supports and officials.