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Boko Haram violence mars Nigerian general election

Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed at least 23 people and set fire to their homes in northeast Nigeria. The brutal attacks occurred on the eve of the country's general elections.

Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima said Saturday that a group of insurgents killed at least 23 people in the remote village of Buratai in the southeast of the state on Friday.

"I received a report that people have been killed at Burati town and five people injured. My Commissioner of Education participated in the burial of those killed," he told journalists after voting in Saturday's election.

Federal lawmaker, Mohammed Adamu who represents the town where the killings took place, said the gunmen, who are suspected insurgents, also set fire to the victims' homes.

Burati is around 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Borno state's capital Maiduguri.

Nigeria goes to the polls

Nigerians headed to the polls Saturday to vote in general elections. However, technical glitches forced a 24-hour extension to the ballot, while violence rocked polling centers in the northeast of the country.

Rebels, who have recently been pushed out of the area by a four-national military coalition, killed seven people when they launched separate attacks in the neighboring villages of Birin Bolawa and Birin Fulani, in Gobe state.

An election official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said "we could hear the gunmen shouting, 'Didn't we warn you about staying away from (the) election?'"

Incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, along with 12 other candidates, are vying for the presidency, while 2,537 people from 28 parties are contesting 469 seats in parliament.

jlw/sb (Reuters, AFP)

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