Nigerian police say gunmen have killed a leading candidate for governor and six other people in the northeastern state of Borno.
Police say candidate Modu Fannami Gubio had just attended Friday prayers in the city of Maiduguri when gunmen on motorcycles shot him and those with him outside his family home.
Gubio was a gubernatorial candidate for the Nigeria People’s Party .
No one has claimed responsibility for the killing but the attack was similar to others blamed on the radical Muslim sect Boko Haram.
Residents deserted the streets of the city following the killings and police and soldiers cordoned off neighborhoods to search for the killers.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is in Ethiopia for an African Union summit, said he is shocked by the killings.
Violence in Nigeria has been rising ahead of the country’s April elections. Police say clashes in central Nigeria on Thursday killed 12 people. Police in Plateau state say dozens of gunmen believed to be Muslim Fulani herdsmen attacked at least three villages.
A military spokesman says troops killed two of the attackers as they tried to flee. Police say they have detained at least 29 people responsible for the attacks, including a police officer based in the capital, Abuja.
The villages are located near the state capital of Jos, which has been plagued by violence between Muslims and Christians.
Plateau is located in Nigeria’s so-called middle belt, where the mostly Muslim north meets the mainly Christian south.
Nigeria’s 140 million people are divided roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims. Periodic clashes between the groups, mostly in and around Jos, have killed thousands of people in recent years. voa