11 killed at Nigeria election rally

The explosion happened the same day that a mass protest was held against Boko Haram

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An explosion and gunshots sent crowds running at an election rally in southern Nigeria’s Rivers state on Tuesday, in the latest unrest before polls next month. According to local sources at least 11 people have been killed .

An explosion whose cause was not immediately known caused chaos as the rally in the town of Okrika was set to start, witnesses said.

Gunfire from unidentified assailants then rang out, with supporters of All Progressives Congress governorship candidate Dukuku Peterside running for safety.

The attack happened the same day as tens-of-thousands of people marched in a separate event through Niger’s capital Niamey to support the country’s military following a series of attacks along the border with Nigeria carried out by Boko Haram militants.

Organizers said up to 35,000 people took part in Tuesday’s demonstration, which saw Prime Minister Brigi Rafini and other government officials lead a march that ended in a mass rally in front of the parliament building.

“Boko Haram attacked us and you don’t attack Niger with impunity. Today’s support for the armed forces must be permanent,” President Mahamadou Issoufou told the crowds. “If Allah wills it, Niger will be Boko Haram’s tomb.”

(With AFP and Reuters)