Blast at Nigeria pro-Jonathan rally was female suicide bomber: police

A man throws a container of water towards a burning car after a bomb explosion barely a few minutes after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan left Gombe stadium February 2, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

BAUCHI, Nigeria (Reuters) - A bomb blast that went off just minutes after Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan left an election campaign rally was the work of a female suicide bomber, police said on Tuesday. The bomb exploded near a stadium in the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe on Monday, setting a car ablaze, killing one person and wounding 18. Gombe state police spokesman Fwaje Atajiri said by telephone that the bomb had been a female with explosives strapped to her, a sign it was the work of Islamist militant group Boko Haram, although no one has claimed responsibility. Nigeria is due to hold a presidential election on Feb. 14, pitting the ruling People's Democratic Party's (PDP) Jonathan against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Boko Haram militants are stepping up their campaign of violence ahead of the election. The military repelled an attack by insurgents on the outskirts of the northeast's main city of Maiduguri on Sunday, their second assault in a week on a city they hope to make the capital of a breakaway Islamist state. (Reporting by Ardo Abdullah; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Gareth Jones)