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Death toll now 15 after Nigeria election stampede: hospital

AFP  |  Port Harcourt (Nigeria) 

Fifteen people were killed in a stampede at an election campaign rally in southern held by Muhammadu Buhari, health officials said on Wednesday, in an updated toll.

Kem-Daniel Elebiga, for the University of Teaching Hospital, said "a total of 15 bodies were brought in" on Tuesday. Three were men and the others were women, he added.

Twelve injured people were brought in, nine of whom remain in hospital. "They are all responding well to treatment," he said.

Police in Rivers state, of which is the capital, earlier gave a toll of four dead and four injured, while Buhari's office said "several" people lost their lives.

Conflicting death tolls are not unusual in Nigeria, although the authorities often issue lower numbers.

said the stampede happened when panic broke out at the end of a rally, held in the city's

Crowds tried to force their way through a locked exit.

"Those from behind were pushing and putting pressure on those in front, leading to some persons falling on the ground and being trampled upon," said Egufe Yafugborhi, of the Vanguard newspaper.

The deaths are the latest on the campaign trail: last Thursday, two people were reported to have died during a crush at a Buhari rally in the northeastern state of

On January 21, several people were injured in the northeastern city of when a platform collapsed during a visit by Buhari.

In Rivers, police said: "The of police has ordered an investigation to determine the cause of the stampede with a view to preventing a recurrence.

"We are also evolving measures to improve on crowd control at such events."

goes to the polls on Saturday to elect a new and parliament, with Buhari looking for a second, four-year term.

Rivers, home to the oil and gas industry, is a key battleground between the ruling All Progressives and the main opposition

Tensions typically mount between supporters of the two sides before, during and after elections. Already, there are claims of attempts to rig the vote.

Five members were shot and killed on Sunday during weekend clashes with PDP followers near the of Warri, in Delta state.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, February 13 2019. 19:15 IST