Tension on Monday enveloped Tuomo community in Burutu local government area of Delta state, following the reported kidnap of the traditional prime minister of the community and 25 others by suspected gunmen.
Trouble started after a magistrate court reportedly sacked the community chairman, Mr Binebai Tomke, from office, and announced that another election be conducted to choose new leadership for the community.
But on the ground of the election, thugs poured in and kidnapped the traditional prime minister, Chief Mike Loyibo, and 25 others at the election ground.
Sources in the community said several other persons were injured in the fracas which broke out around 1pm on Monday lamenting that the whereabouts of the traditional prime minister and the 25 others was still on unknown as at press time.
According to the sources, police officers attached to the traditional orime minister, Chief Mike Loyibo, took cover, following heavy gun fire from the suspected gunmen.
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’s not lettered.
“The judge 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, yesterday, 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 source, however, said security operatives who were dispatched to comb the area have rescued the Chief Mike Loyibo and two others, adding that the whereabouts of the remaining 23 other persons still remains unknown.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, efforts wad made to reach the former chairman for comments on the matter.
Contacted few minutes after he was rescued by security operatives, Chief Mike Loyibo, said; “as a leader of the community and Tuomo kingdom I went to witness and ensure peaceful electoral process when these thugs came to disrupt it and also attacked me and others with me.
“The security men on sighting the thugs with dangerous weapons fled and I was kidnapped by some of the assailants, who demanded that I should pay N1 billion to be freed.
“In the process argument ensued among them and I managed to escape from the scene and took a cover. It was in that place that soldiers came to rescue me”.
However, in his reaction, the secretary of Tuomo community, Mr Hebrew Coastman, said: “the truth of the matter is that the whole of Tuomo community went to disrupt the process because of foul play.
“First, we do not believe the purported court judgement emanated from the court because nobody from our party was present at the court.
“Again, there were two more candidates brought in to contest and the whole community saw that there was a foul play and trooped out to disrupt the process”.