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100 People Missing After Nigerian Political Rally

March 31, 2003|From Reuters

LAGOS, Nigeria — More than 100 people were missing and some were feared drowned after they jumped into a river during violent clashes in Nigeria between supporters of rival political parties, witnesses said Sunday.

They also said one woman was killed in Saturday's rally involving supporters of President Olusegun Obasanjo's People's Democratic Party and the opposition All Nigeria People's Party near the oil city of Port Harcourt.

The clash was the latest ahead of much-delayed presidential and parliamentary elections in April, the first since 1999, when Obasanjo was voted in and ended military rule.

"People, men and women were badly cut with machetes and other dangerous weapons, while more than 100 people who jumped into the river are still missing. Some of them may have drowned," one witness said by phone.

The witnesses said the All Nigeria supporters staging a campaign rally in the town of Bakana fled en masse into the river after armed People's Democratic supporters stormed the rally.

An elderly woman was burned to death in the house of a local All Nigeria chairman that was allegedly torched by People's Democratic supporters, the witnesses said. There was no immediate comment from either party.

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