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Thursday, 6 June, 2002, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Nigerian governor target of violence
Violence in Jos
Democracy has not brought stability in Nigeria
A governor in Nigeria who has been critical of President Olusegun Obasanjo, has been attacked in his car by a mob in the capital, Abuja.

The BBC's Dan Isaacs in Lagos says that the attack, in which Governor Abdulkadir Kure was unhurt, was apparently carried out by supporters of other senior figures within the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), to which Mr Kure also belongs.

President Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo says he will punish politicians guilty of violence
This is the latest of many acts of political violence in Nigeria ahead of local and presidential elections.

The Nigerian Daily Times says that 70 people have been arrested following the attack.

Mr Kure, the governor of Niger state, was leaving the PDP headquarters on Wednesday when a mob threw stones at his convoy and smashed the windscreen of his jeep.

A senior PDP official told Reuters news agency that hundreds of people were involved in the assault.

Political violence

"Several vehicles were smashed, but the governor was not hurt and he just managed to escape," said the official, who asked not to be named.

Governor Kure had been attending a meeting called to try to resolve a conflict in Niger, one of states where sporadic violence has already erupted at PDP meetings to select candidates for the local elections in August.

People queuing to vote in 1999
Many pinned their hopes on the last presidential election

In some states, human rights groups have accused state governors of using vigilantes set up to combat crime as private political militias.

Our correspondent says that in a country where access to political power is seen as a path to wealth, these early stages of the election campaign are crucial.

Mr Kure has voiced criticism against President Obasanjo, and has publicly opposed his bid for re-election next year.

Mr Obasanjo was elected democratically in 1999.

More than 10,000 people have died in ethnic, religious and political violence since then, and poll-related violence is just the latest expression of the malaise in the country.

Electoral stake

Last week, President Obasanjo urged Nigerians to shun violence to ensure peaceful and free elections next year.

"No credible elections can be conducted in an environment where fear, intimidation and violence abound," he said in a broadcast to mark the third anniversary of Nigeria's return to civilian rule.

Since independence there has never been a successful election campaign managed by a civilian government.

The last attempt in 1983 was deeply flawed and was followed almost immediately by a military takeover.

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The BBC's Dan Isaacs
"The people here are very bitter"

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29 May 02 | Africa
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