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Gunmen destroy 800 ballot boxes in Nigeria, the latest in a series of attacks

A Labour Party supporter holds a placard during a campaign rally at Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria.
Pius Utomi Ekpei
/
AFP via Getty Images
A Labour Party supporter holds a placard during a campaign rally at Adamasingba Stadium in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria.

LAGOS, Nigeria — More than 800 ballot boxes were destroyed by armed gunmen, who attacked an office of the electoral commission in southeast Nigeria on Wednesday.

It's the latest in the series of attacks on the electoral commission's offices across the region, blamed on armed pro-Biafra separatists groups. Biafra was the country separatists hoped to create but was quashed during Nigeria's bloody civil war.

In recent years, pro-Biafra militants have caused widespread terror, attacking government and security posts, and more recently, electoral offices. It's raising fears for whether the election can hold as planned.

Insecurity is a huge issue in Nigeria, with a militant Islamist insurgency in the north east, banditry in the north west and a rise in kidnapping for cash countrywide. Voters in Africa's most populous country are due to head to the polls at the end of this month.

This story originally appeared in NPR's Newscast.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Emmanuel Akinwotu
Emmanuel Akinwotu is an international correspondent for NPR. He joined NPR in 2022 from The Guardian, where he was West Africa correspondent.