MORE than 20 villagers, including an electoral officer, were injured, weekend, at Bolou Ndoro community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state, following an attack by suspected mercenaries in a botched election for the communityâ€™s chair.
Our source said, â€œThe electoral officer for the community was beating to coma and is presently hospitalized as a result of his refusal to declare one of the chairmanship aspirants as winner of the pollâ€.
Saturday Vanguard gathered that soldiers were deployed in the community, yesterday, to maintain peace, as tension mounted among the warring parties.
A community leader, Deacon Arebe Ebeinene, who confirmed the deployment of soldiers in Bolou Ndoro said the crisis was instigated by one of the chair aspirants that wanted to foist himself on the community.
An activist and coordinator of the National Council of Ijaw activists, Mallam Yusuf Eregbene, in an interview, called on the Delta state government to wade into the matter to avoid killing and destruction of property of innocent citizens.
It was learnt that one of the factions, which recruited mercenaries from Bayelsa state to cow the villagers, placed the incumbent chair of the community, Mr. Afesuku Waidirimo, under house arrest.
Ebeinene said out of the 30 delegates that were supposed to vote in the election, only 10 were accredited and the three chairmanship aspirants agreed the election should go ahead.
He, however, said that trouble erupted when the aspirants insisted that they must be allowed to vote, which is against the constitution of the community.
According to him, â€œAttempt to force the electoral officer to bend the rules resulted in a free â€“for-all in which guns were freely used by mercenaries recruited from Bayelsa state by one of the chairmanship aspirantsâ€.