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Electoral Commission office and police station attacked in Nigeria, one killed

Electoral Commission office and police station attacked in Nigeria, one killed
Soldiers and policemen stand at the gate of the state headquarters of Independent National ...   -  
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A group of heavily armed men attacked an electoral commission office and a police station in southeastern Nigeria on Wednesday, killing one teenager and wounding another, three weeks before the country's presidential election, official sources said Thursday.

Nigerians are due to choose a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari on 25 February, a former general who is not standing for re-election after two terms in office failed to curb the serious security problems plaguing the country: a violent jihadist insurgency in the north-east, separatist tensions in the south, and rising crime in the north-west and centre.

On Wednesday morning, men in four cars armed with "improvised explosive devices" attacked an electoral commission office, a police station and a residential building adjacent to the station, according to a statement from the police in the southeastern state of Anambra.

"Unfortunately, a 16-year-old boy, a relative of an on-duty police officer, was killed by the gunmen, while a 15-year-old girl was shot and injured," the statement said.

The girl was taken to the hospital where she is currently being treated.

The Commission's building was "considerably damaged", according to a statement signed by Inec chairman Festus Okoye.

Electoral materials for the presidential and legislative elections were destroyed, including "729 ballot boxes" and "243 voting booths".

However, voter cards that had not yet been collected by their owners and were kept in a fireproof cabinet were not destroyed, the statement said.

The Inec recently warned of the threat of increased violence during the election campaign, adding that it had recorded at least 50 attacks since its launch nearly two months ago.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack, south-eastern Nigeria has seen a large number of attacks attributed to the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra Movement (IPOB).

The Ipob, which seeks the rebirth of a separate state for the Igbo ethnic group, has repeatedly denied any responsibility for the violence.

According to local media, more than 100 police and other security personnel have been killed since the beginning of last year in targeted attacks.

Eighteen candidates are vying to succeed Mr Buhari, including Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).

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