By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Two persons have been feared killed and 13 vehicles burnt Friday night during a pre-election crisis that erupted in Obot-Akara Local Government Council of Akwa Ibom State.
It was gathered that the affected persons died in a gun duel between some hoodlums and security personnel on election duties at Nto Edino, the headquarters of Obot-Akara, when sensitive materials for the Presidential and National Assembly elections, now rescheduled for February 23, were allegedly being taken to the area.
Sources from the area, who confirmed the incident, yesterday, said security, however had been beefed-up in the area as fear and confusion had enveloped the community of Obot-Akara.
One of the sources said, “As we speak two persons have been killed and 13 vehicles burnt in the local government headquarters. The crisis started between the security personnel and some political thugs when INEC staff was distributing sensitive materials for the elections.”
Contacted, the Public Relations Officer, DSP Odiko Macdon, said, “As I speak, the Commissioner of Police is on his way to Obot Akara, so I cannot speak on the matter now”
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Also contacted Akwa Ibom Police Command, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party from that local government area and the senatorial candidate for the zone, Dr Chris Ekpenyong, alleged that APC supporters had been causing crisis in the area for a long time now.
Ekpenyong, claimed that he was in Uyo monitoring the distribution of election materials when news got to him that there was crisis going in his local government and that two persons had been killed.
“We know them and they are the same people who have been causing problem in the locality. I made a formal complaint to the police for those people to be picked up and investigated because last time the same people did the same thing when they were recruiting ad-hoc officers.
“They went ahead to beat up the electoral officer because they wanted to force him to accept their own list for the ad-hoc staff. The matter was reported to the police and nothing was done.
“This is the kind of government we have at the centre. They want to take over Akwa Ibom State by force. But I have told my people not to engage in reprisal attack”, he said.