Opposition rally venue attacked in southern Nigeria: Police

Unknown gunmen stormed and bombed the site of a planned opposition rally outside southern Nigeria`s oil city of Port Harcourt early Saturday, though police said no lives were lost.

AFP| Last Updated: Jan 24, 2015, 21:30 PM IST

Port Harcourt: Unknown gunmen stormed and bombed the site of a planned opposition rally outside southern Nigeria`s oil city of Port Harcourt early Saturday, though police said no lives were lost.

"Podium and public address system were damaged. No life was lost," Rivers state police commissioner Dan Bature told reporters about the attack in the town of Okrika.

He said the incident occurred around 4:30 am (3:30 GMT), hours before the start of the rally by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its governorship candidate in the February 28 election.

Bature said the attackers invaded the venue with an explosive device suspected to be dynamite, and drove away workers preparing for the event.

"The area is now under police control, while the bomb disposal unit has commenced investigation," he said.

Bature advised the APC to postpone the rally in the interest of peace.

Tempers have been rising ahead of next month`s presidential, parliamentary and governorship vote in Africa`s most populous country, with smear speeches dominating campaigns.

The APC has blamed President Goodluck Jonathan`s ruling People`s Democratic Party for the series of violent attacks unleashed on its supporters, facilities and offices since the start of campaigns last month.

Electoral violence has blighted past polls since Nigeria`s independence from Britain in 1960, and there have been warnings that there could be a repeat of clashes in 2011, which left hundreds dead.

Jonathan is seeking a second, four-year term and faces former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, the APC candidate, in the February 14 election.