Explosion hits police station in northeast Nigeria

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 16, 2011 4:09 AM
Explosion hits police station in northeast Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - An explosion hit a police station in Nigeria's northeastern city of Maiduguri just as presidential elections were beginning Saturday, the second blast in the past 24 hours, residents said.

The blast happened at a police station in the Lami Sula district of Maiduguri, which lies in the remote state of Borno near Nigeria's borders with Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

"People are so scared. Some have started abandoning the polling stations," said one resident who asked not to be named.

A blast tore through the local office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) late last night, although nobody was injured, officials said. There were also sporadic bursts of gunfire overnight.

There have been a spate of killings of politicians, police officers and religious leaders in Borno in recent months. The violence has been blamed on radical Islamist sect Boko Haram but has become increasingly political in the run-up to the polls.

Two gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a soldier in Maiduguri Friday morning. The leading candidate in governorship elections being held on April 26 was also shot dead in January along with other officials from his party.

(Reporting by Ibrahim Mshelizza; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)