Gunmen attack councils in Bauchi
GUNMEN suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents yesterday attacked Alkaleri and Kirfi local councils of Bauchi State. The gunmen, who drove in convoy of about 10 Hilux and Sharon station wagons at about 6:00 a.m., attacked several polling stations, destroying many electoral materials.
It would be recalled that on Saturday, gunmen in about six vehicles attacked a polling unit at Yautara Ward in Darazo and set ablaze electoral materials. The Bauchi State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed, said unspecified numbers of unknown gunmen in a convoy of over 10 vehicles stormed polling units in Kirfi, Alkaleri and destroyed many electoral materials.
He said the hoodlums further attacked Kirfi and Alkaleri Divisional Police Headquarters, but were repelled and pursued towards Dindima Town along Bauchi-Gombe Road. “A combined security force comprising the police and Army forced the hoodlums to abandon their mission and escape into the bush. “The entire surrounding area has been cordoned by combined security forces and effort is being intensified to restore normalcy in the area. Members of the public are urged to remain calm and disregard rumour from mischief-makers”, he said.
A resident said: “The gunmen stormed the town early Sunday morning and attacked Alkaleri Divisional Police Station, INEC office and Central Primary which was the collation center for Saturday’s election in the council.” Also, a reliable source at the district headquarters of Alkaleri confirmed the attack. He said the Boko Haram fighters came in four Hilux vans shooting sporadically and people scampered for safety.
Many could not come out from their houses. In another development, it was a mild drama when an electoral officer in charge of Bali Local Council of Taraba State was yesterday beaten and stripped naked by electorate following his alleged involvement in an election fraud.
The electoral officer, presently in police custody, was said to have allegedly been induced by one of the aspirants to tamper with election materials in his favour during the election. Confirming the report, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Joseph Kwaji, said that during the election, voters in the area discovered that ballot papers meant for House of Representatives were tampered with.
Following the development, angry voters, who suspected foul-play, descended on the electoral officer, which would have led to his death but for the timely intervention of security operatives. Also confirming the report, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Alhaji Ahmad Makama, said the said electoral officer had been removed and handed over to the police. He also said he learnt that the said officer was induced with money, and that the police command is investigating the matter.
The commission, he said, has re-deployed one of the Head of Departments in the Commission to Ibi whom, according to him, is now handling the conduct of election which was postponed in some wards in Ibi due to the incident. The situation, The Guardian learnt, has made the electorate in the area and the state at large to be curious and suspicious of electoral officers deplored to the councils.