Bomb attack ahead of Nigeria poll

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 08 April 2011

nigeriaelectionthom

IBADAN, Nigeria — A bomb targeting an election office in Nigeria exploded today on the eve of the first of the oil-rich country's three crucial April elections, killing at least eight people and spreading fears that violence reminiscent of the nation's flawed 2007 vote could spread. The explosion struck the Independent National Electoral Commission office in Suleja in the afternoon as workers hurriedly prepared for Saturday's looming National Assembly polls. A government official who requested anonymity said the blast injured so many people that local hospitals quickly became overwhelmed, forcing doctors to send patients onto nearby Abuja, the country's capital. The official requested anonymity due to government concerns about talking about the death toll ahead of the election. Police did not immediately identify the explosive used or say whether they had any suspects. Suleja, in Niger state, previously saw a bombing at a political rally in March that killed at least four people and left another 20 wounded. A statement from President Goodluck Jonathan's office promised the nation it would increase security ahead of Saturday's vote. "The president's deepest sympathies go the families of these patriotic youth and he wishes to assure them that the federal government will do everything possible to bring their murderers to justice," the statement read. Nigeria's delayed first national election starts Saturday, and the bombing is just one of a series of worrying signs recently seen across Africa's most populous nation. Coupled with a failed bombing in the north and an attack by a radical Islamic sect today, these signs undoubtedly prove worrying for international observers concerned about one of the top crude oil suppliers to the U.S., as well as those who will place their inked fingers to the ballots. (AP)  

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