Nigeria’s electoral commission will postpone Feb. 14 presidential and legislative elections for six weeks to give a new multinational force time to secure northeastern areas under the sway of Boko Haram, an official close to the commission told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Millions could be disenfranchised if the voting went ahead while the Islamic extremists hold a large swath of the northeast and commit mayhem that has driven 1.5 million people from their homes.
Any delay is opposed by an opposition coalition fielding former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari, though the opposition stands to take most votes in the northeast.
Supporters of both sides are threatening violence if their candidate does not win. Some 800 people were killed in riots in the mainly Muslim north after Buhari, a Muslim, lost 2011 elections to Jonathan, a Christian from the south.