A car bomb that exploded on Monday in northeastern Nigeria just moments after the country's president departed from a campaign event left one person dead and injured at least seven others. Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent who is up for re-election later this month, was leaving the rally in Gombe when the explosion took place, Reuters reported. The blast took place about 3 p.m. local time outside of a stadium where Jonathan had been speaking.
"The president had just passed the parking lot and we were trailing behind his convoy when the explosion happened ... just 100 metres from the bus we were driving in,” an unidentified reporter told the Telegraph. The car bomb, which exploded about 200 yards away from where Jonathan had been campaigning, comes one day after a nearby suicide bombing near a local mosque killed five people and injured eight more.
Though no organization has yet stepped forward to claim responsibility for the lethal blast, Boko Haram has recently been staging a series of violent assaults throughout Nigeria in hopes of disrupting the Feb. 14 presidential elections there. The militant Islamist organization has already targeted Gombe multiple times in the past. Boko Haram’s apparent strategy is to displace Nigerian citizens in an effort to disenfranchise the potential voters and cast further doubt on the legitimacy of the country’s voting process, which has in the past been plagued by fraud.
The bomb caused some civil unrest in Gombe, where young activists reacted by attacking anybody who was there to support Jonathan and his ruling Peoples Democratic Party. Cars had stones thrown at them, leaving some reporters with cuts from broken glass, according to the Telegraph. Jonathan, who first came to power in 2010, is running against former ruler and opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress party.