21st March, 2011
Police fired gunshots and tear gas on Monday to disperse a tense crowd that gathered near the site of CPC Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari’sÂ rally in the volatile city of Jos.
A number of what appeared to be wounded people were also being taken in the direction of a hospital by police in the city in central Nigeria, an AFP correspondent reported.
Crowds of people, mainly youths, had gathered in the road leading to the campaign venue when police fired gunshots in the air to disperse them.
It was unclear whether the candidate, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, would go ahead with the rally.
Police commissioner Abdulrahman Akano said two different groups of youths supporting Buhari and President Goodluck Jonathan gathered in the road, leading authorities to intervene.
“We didn’t allow the fight,” he told AFP. “They were gathering … One or two canisters of tear gas had to be fired.”
He said he was not aware of any injuries or police firing into the air. There had been no arrests.
Tensions have flared in the country ahead of the April vote, with a number of political meetings targeted with bomb attacks.
Jos and its environs have been hit by waves of violence involving Christian and Muslim ethnic groups in recent years that have claimed hundreds of lives.
On Sunday, two men aboard a motorcycle were killed in the city when a bomb they were carrying accidentally exploded.
Plateau state is located in the so-called middle belt between the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south of Africa’s most populous country of some 150 million people.
Buhari is a Muslim from the north, while Jonathan, the clear favourite in the election, is a Christian from the southern Niger Delta region.