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US urges Nigeria to hold vote free of 'intimidation'

AFP  |  Washington 

The has called on all sides in including the military to ensure that next week's election is "free from outside pressure and "

Amid mounting tensions over potential violence and vote-rigging, Thursday said the February 16 vote offered "an opportunity for to solidify its place as a in "

"The government supports a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election that reflects the will of the Nigerian people," Pompeo said in a statement.

"Nigerian must provide a safe and secure environment for the Nigerian people to exercise their rights. Those who interfere in the electoral process or incite violence must be held to account," he said.

Fraud accusations and violence have marred elections since civilian rule was restored in 1999 in Africa's most populous country, although observers say the last vote in 2015 that elected were generally fair.

Buhari is running for a second term against former vice Atiku Abubakar, whose main opposition party has accused the ruling forces of trying to rig the vote.

Buhari's All Progressives has in turn accused the opposition of fomenting unrest.

earlier Thursday promised that the military would remain neutral in the election.

The has built political and economic relations with since the restoration of democracy and in recent years has been especially involved in supporting its fight against Boko Haram extremists.

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

First Published: Fri, February 08 2019. 03:25 IST