The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Saturday, confirmed the kidnap of 19 members of its ad hoc staff while on their way to conduct the House of Assembly election in Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo.
INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Imo, Prof. Sylvia Agu disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Owerri.
The victims were, however, released following intervention by security agents but election materials including BVAS machines are still missing.
Mr Agu said: “The attention of the commission has been drawn to a report from Ugbelle Registration Area (06) in Ideato South Local Government Area of Imo state where thugs carted away all electoral materials and took our staff hostage for some hours during the March 18 House of Assembly election.
“The security forces were informed and a rescue operation was mounted.
“Presently, all ad hoc staff on hostage have been rescued but no trace of the election materials.
“While the commission remains grateful to the security operatives, it condemns such acts of thuggery, intimidation and disenfranchisement of voters and urge the public to continue to have confidence in the electoral process,” Mr Agu stated.
The REC said a full statement on the matter will be issued later.