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Boko Haram disrupts Nigerian elections


AP

Boko Haram disrupts Nigerian elections

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ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) – Boko Haram fighters attacked poll stations in northeast Nigeria and a governor demanded elections be cancelled in an oil-rich southern state Sunday as the count started for a presidential election too close to call.

Two electoral workers were killed Saturday in Boko Haram’s campaign to disrupt the elections, chairman Attahiru Jega of the Independent National Electoral Commission told reporters.

Voting continued in certain areas on Sunday after technical glitches with new biometric card readers prevented some people from casting ballots on Saturday.

The high-stakes contest to govern Africa’s richest and most populous nation has come down to a critically close contest between President Goodluck Jonathan, a 57-year-old Christian from the south, and former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, 72, from the predominantly Muslim north.

Results are expected by late Monday. If there is no clear winner, a runoff must be held.

Suspected Boko Haram extremists attacked polling stations and destroyed election material in two northeastern towns Sunday, then advanced on Bauchi city, according to fleeing residents.

Soldiers engaged them in heavy gunfire, and a jet fighter patrolled skies above the city, they said.

Police spokesman Haruna Muhammad said security forces had halted the convoy of ten vehicles holding “unidentified gunmen” at Dindima village, ten kilometres from Bauchi.

But gunshots erupted in Bauchi before nightfall Sunday, and authorities declared a curfew.

Muhammad said the gunmen attacked polling stations in Kirfi and Alkaleri towns earlier in the day.

Boko Haram extremists killed at least 41 people, including a legislator, and scared hundreds of people from polling stations in three states in the northeast on Saturday.

Voters also are electing 360 legislators to the House of Assembly, where the opposition currently has a slight edge over Jonathan’s party. Voting for 13 constituencies was postponed until April because of shortages of ballot papers, electoral officials said.

 

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