Armed men burn 2 school buildings in Pikit

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/26 October) – Armed men believed to be supporters of defeated candidates in Monday’s elections burned two school buildings in a village in Pikit, North Cotabato, around 1:30 a.m. today, police reports said.

Senior Insp. Elias Dandan, chief of Pikit police, said at least five classrooms of two school buildings inside the Gocotan Elementary School were “razed to the ground”.

The school housed five polling precincts for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections in one of the hotly contested villages in Pikit, according to Dandan.

Reports said that a number of armed men believed to be supporters of various candidates were sighted hours before and during election day. Some of the voters went home afraid when they saw armed men encircle the village, reports said.

Despite the sighting the voting continued, said Dante Parrenas, municipal election registrar of Pikit.

Parrenas said the chairmanship post was hotly contested by four candidates identified as Mustapha Aliman, Nok Pabalua, Russel Pendatun and Bernie Mandalait.

Aliman was proclaimed the winner along with the seven councilors, namely, Kahar Kabunto, Lani Bidsok, Abdul Nasser Ulimpain, Karim Pasandalan, Samad Bidol, Samsudin Masulot and Samion Akbar.

Dandan said the incident could be election-related but he offered no idea of who could have done it. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)