Nigeria’s rescheduled March 28 presidential elections should be able to take place despite disruption threats made Tuesday by Boko Haram. But the country’s security services, such as the military, the Service Chiefs and the National Security Adviser, will have to “guarantee the sanctity of the rescheduled polls in view of the security challenges facing the country,” the Nigerian daily Vanguard reports on its front page Thursday.

The newspaper quotes the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, who addressed the Senate Wednesday on the country’s preparedness for the elections: “I kept saying consistently that INEC is not a security organization. We are an election management body. So, we rely a lot on security to be able to ensure that things are done well and that there is no disruption of the electoral process.”

According to Jega, the postponement of the elections offered the commission precious additional preparation and the hope for “significant improvement in the security situation” in the next six weeks.

In a video released Tuesday by Boko Haram, the terrorist group’s leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to disrupt Nigeria’s March 28 presidential election, which had already been postponed for security reasons from its original Feb. 8 date. “We say that these elections that you are planning to do will not happen in peace,” he said.

The video appeared as two suicide bombings killed at least 38 people and injured 20 others in northeastern Nigeria Tuesday.

But Vanguard also reported Thursday that the Islamist group suffered heavy casualties this week, as Chadian troops launched a series of assaults in northeastern Nigeria. “The offensive deep inside Nigerian territory was a first and suggested a strategy to tackle other rebel-controlled areas in northeastern Borno state, which is the group’s stronghold,” the Nigerian daily wrote.

The INEC is set to hold additional meetings on Feb. 24 and March 4 to finalize arrangements for the March 28 vote, which would be followed by the second round of voting on April 11.

ABOUT THE SOURCE: Vanguard is a leading daily newspapers in Nigeria independent of political control. It was founded in 1983.

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