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Nigeria election boss rules out further poll delay as army claims gains

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Any additional delay to the vote, which was postponed by six weeks over security concerns related to Boko Haram's bloody insurgency in the northeast, would be "unconstitutional" electoral commission chairman Attahiru Jega told the Senate/FILE

Any additional delay to the vote, which was postponed by six weeks over security concerns related to Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency in the northeast, would be “unconstitutional” electoral commission chairman Attahiru Jega told the Senate/FILE

ABUJA, Nigeria, Feb 19 – Nigeria’s elections chief Wednesday ruled out any further postponement to upcoming presidential and parliamentary polls, despite Boko Haram vowing to stymie the ballot.

Any additional delay to the vote, which was postponed by six weeks over security concerns related to Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency in the northeast, would be “unconstitutional” electoral commission chairman Attahiru Jega told the Senate.

His remarks came as the Nigerian and Chadian armies claimed to have between them killed over 400 fighters from the jihadist group. But the gains were overshadowed by 36 civilian deaths in an unexplained airstrike in Niger.

The Nigerian military Wednesday said it had killed more than 300 rebels in an operation to retake the garrison town of Monguno in Borno state and 10 other communities. READ: Nigeria under fire over vote delay.

Civilian vigilantes in Monguno, about 130 kilometres north of the state capital Maiduguri, confirmed the town’s recapture but said only that there were heavy casualties.

In a separate statement Wednesday on Chadian television, the chief of staff of that country’s armed forces said that 117 Islamists had been killed in fierce clashes a day earlier around Dikwa, about 80 kilometres south of Monguno, also in Borno.

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