By Charles Nwabardi
No fewer than 25 persons including the Traditional Prime Minister of Tuomo Kingdom, Chief Mike Loyibo, in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State are missing after gunmen invaded the community election.
The Tuomo community election was said to have been going on peacefully when armed youths stormed the venue and whisked the missing persons away.
The incident occurred on Monday and since then the whereabouts of Chief Loyibo and other leaders alleged to have been kidnapped remained unknown.
A source in the riverine Ijaw community told journalists on Tuesday that trouble started after a magistrate court nullified and sacked the former community chairman, Mr Binebai Tomke, from office.
According to the source, since the judgement was given, there had been uneasy calm in the community.
It was learnt that aside those kidnapped, several persons were injured in the fracas thereby disrupting election.
Our source disclosed that mobile policemen attached to Loyibo scampered for safety during the incident.
One of the sources said: “the Magistrate Court at Okpokunou Community passed a judgement on the 19th of last month that disqualified Mr Binebai Tomke from office because he is not lettered.
“The Magistrate went ahead to say that the community leadership should conduct another election for the two candidates who earlier contested with him.
“At the election ground, on Monday, the former chairman came with thugs brandishing matchets and other dangerous weapons to disrupt the process, who also attacked officers, including Chief Mike Loyibo.
“The former chairman even went to the community radio house and announced that nobody can remove him from office”.
A dependable source, said security operatives have been dispatched to comb the area with a view to rescuing the Chief Mike Loyibo and others.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, efforts were being made to reach the former chairman for comments on the matter.