KANO, Nigeria (AFP) – Police in northern Nigeria on Tuesday discovered two home-made bombs in a car carrying three suspected Islamists heading for a political rally ahead of general elections.
Police suspect the target of the bombs was a political meeting of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) held in the city of Maiduguri, which has recently been the centre of attacks by an Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.
When police found “the two locally-made bombs concealed in the boot of the car, the three suspected Boko Haram sect members took to their heels and the police opened fire …, killing one and wounding another while the third managed to escape,” Zakai Adamu, state assistant police commissioner for Borno state, told AFP.
“From all indications the suspected Boko Haram members wanted to detonate the bombs at the campaign rally,” Adamu said.
The discovery comes days before general elections, which will be spread over three weekends starting April 2, heightening fears of political violence in the volatile city.
On Sunday suspected sect gunmen killed the ANPP’s youth leader in the city shortly after he attended a political meeting.
In January the ANPP governorship candidate was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen along with six others in an attack claimed by Boko Haram.
Last October the ANPP national vice chairman for northeastern Nigeria was killed by unknown gunmen at his home in the city.
Since 2010 attacks attributed to the sect in the city have left dozens dead, most of them policemen.