Explosion at Nigeria election office before polls

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 08, 2011 2:48 PM
Explosion at Nigeria election office before polls

By Nick Tattersall

LAGOS (Reuters) - An explosion rocked the local offices of Nigeria's electoral commission in the central town of Suleja on Friday, hours ahead of parliamentary polls, in what one emergency official said appeared to have been a bomb blast.

Security sources said up to eight people may have been killed and a dozen injured in the explosion in Suleja, on the northwestern edge of the capital Abuja, but neither the election commission nor the emergency services could confirm this.

"There was an explosion and there are several casualties. It was a suspected bomb blast," Yushua Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told Reuters.

Africa's most populous nation is due to hold parliamentary elections on Saturday and presidential elections a week later.

The run-up to the polls has been marred by isolated bomb attacks on campaign rallies, violence blamed on a radical sect in the remote northeast and sectarian clashes in the center of a nation roughly split between a Muslim north and Christian south.

Three people were killed and 21 injured by an explosive device thrown from a car at an election rally in Suleja last month.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin)