Johannesburg – Few details have been provided about an ambush on the convoy of Nigeria’s Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima who was on his way to campaign in a remote border village. The incident has however highlighted the increasingly problematic issues surrounding upcoming elections on Saturday.
At least five people, including a soldier, were killed during Tuesday’s attack on the convoy along the Maiduguri-Gambu road leading to Chad, the Premium Times reported.
Government spokesman Isa Gusau confirmed the attack but provided few other details.
Shettima, who is contesting for a senatorial seat on Saturday, is also the campaign director general of his party’s governorship candidate, Babagana Umara.
The gunmen who attacked the convoy were dressed in military uniform and were in what appeared to be two military trucks parked by the side of the road, according to an eyewitness.
They waited until the governor’s convoy had almost passed before driving out and joining it from behind.
After travelling with the convoy for about 5 km they suddenly increased speed, overtaking some of the vehicles before opening fire.
The soldier who was killed had returned fire. The other casualties included passengers in vehicles coming towards the convoy. Following the firefight, a number of vehicles from the convoy, as well as their security men, were abducted by Boko Haram.
The sophistication of the attack highlights Abuja’s ongoing battle to thwart the Islamist militants who have been carrying out an insurgency for a decade in Borno as they try to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.
Their continued attacks on civilians and military alike have left over 25 000 dead and forced over two million people to flee since they launched their insurgency in 2009.
Other problems facing Saturday’s elections include accusations by Western diplomats of political interference impeding a free and fair vote -- a criticism slammed by President Muhammadu Buhari's team as showing bias against him.
At least 15 people were killed on Tuesday in a stampede that unfolded as Buhari left a political rally. The chaos erupted as thousands of supporters tried to follow the president's convoy out of a stadium in the south-eastern city of Port Harcourt in Rivers state.
African News Agency (ANA)