Nigeria steps up security after deadly post-poll violence

Nigeria stepped up security on Saturday after a bomb blast in a northern city as the country geared up for the last leg in a series of elections marred by deadly post-poll violence.

Updated: Apr 23, 2011, 23:23 PM IST

Kano: Nigeria stepped up security on Saturday after a bomb blast in a northern city as the country geared up for the last leg in a series of elections marred by
deadly post-poll violence.

A local rights group said nearly 250 people have been
killed this week after riots broke out in northern Nigeria
following President Goodluck Jonathan`s victory in last
weekend`s vote.

Officials have so far kept the death toll under wraps but
said they were stepping up security ahead of next Tuesday`s
state governorship elections.

"We are deploying more of our men in the troubled areas.
We have noted the flash points and we are going to take
particular attention to those. We will be more alert after the
election," national police spokesman Olusola Amore said to a news agency.

A man was killed overnight in Kaduna city when a bomb he
was assembling exploded. Three of his colleagues survived with
serious injuries, Aminu Lawal, spokesman for Kaduna police, said a news agency.

Many people have died in the predominately Muslim north
in rioting after Jonathan, a southern Christian, won April 16
presidential polls.

A curfew is in effect in Kaduna state, where most of the
deaths have been reported in the post-election violence.

The presidential vote exposed deep regional divisions in
Nigeria, whose 150 million population is about half Christian
and half Muslim belonging to some 250 ethnic groups.

Governorship and state assembly elections due on Tuesday
have been postponed in Kaduna and the neighbouring state of
Bauchi due to security concerns.

One man was killed and three others were wounded in the
blast at a house in a predominately Muslim area of Kaduna
city, the capital of the state of the same name, police said.

"One among the people in possession of the bomb lost his
life and we arrested three people. They were the ones
preparing the bomb," said Kaduna state police spokesman Aminu
Lawal.

"Our security personnel are there still combing the place
in case there are other devices," Lawal added by telephone.

Military patrols and curfews have largely restored calm,
but an estimated 74,000 people have been displaced according
to the Red Cross. Many are seeking refuge in police and
military barracks.

The violence broke out as Jonathan defeated his northern
rival, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who has alleged
rigging but has dissociated himself from the violence.

Nigeria`s mainly Muslim north has long been economically
marginalised compared to the oil-rich south, which is
predominantly Christian.

PTI