Gunmen stormed two communities in Nigeria’s southern oil state of Rivers, killing at least nine people and injuring two others a week ahead of a gubernatorial election, police said Saturday.
“It was about 19:30 hours (1830 GMT) of yesterday (Friday). Some unknown armed men invaded Obrikom and Obor communities and went on a shooting spree,” state police spokesman Ahmad Muhammad said in a statement.
Muhammad said an initial death toll of six had risen to nine. The assailants also set ablaze the house of a local politician, Vincent Ogbagu, who is a state parliament candidate in the April 11 election, he said.
Police were looking for the assailants, Muhammad said. Elections for state governor and parliament are scheduled to take place on April 11 in about 30 Nigerian states, including Rivers and Lagos.
Obrikom and Obor are neighboring communities in Rivers, one of Nigeria’s most restive states.
The oil-producing state has been controlled by president-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s opposition All Progressives Congress since state Governor Rotimi Amaechi defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party last in 2013.
A curfew imposed in the state to contain unrest after the opposition disputed results from last weekend’s general elections was lifted on Thursday.
Outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan — who lost nationally to Buhari — was declared the winner in Rivers with nearly 95 percent of the vote.
The government imposed the curfew after thousands of opposition supporters descended on the electoral office in the state capital Port Harcourt on Sunday and Monday to demand a rerun of the vote.