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Gunmen Attack Convoy of Nigerian State Governor - 2004-03-03

Unidentified gunmen attacked the convoy of a Nigerian state governor Wednesday, killing a passenger in his car and injuring another.

The governor of Benue state in central Nigeria, George Akume, narrowly escaped death when his convoy came under small-arms fire some 150 kilometers from the capital, Abuja. At least one passenger in his car was killed.

It was not immediately clear whether the governor, who is a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, was the victim of an attempted robbery or whether the attack was politically motivated. Both armed banditry and political violence are common in Nigeria.

Last month the vice chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Aminasoari Dikibo, was shot dead in his car while traveling to a party conference in Delta state. The police initially classified the attack as armed robbery, but at the urging of Mr. Dikibo's family ordered an investigation.

Over a dozen politicians have been killed in the last five years in Nigeria. Perpetrators are seldom found, and there have been only few convictions.