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Official: Nigeria postponing Feb. 14 elections so multinational force secures Boko Haram areas

  • People stand with there belongings as they leave there homes traveling by bus after recent fighting between Nigerian government forces and  Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. 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.  (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    People stand with there belongings as they leave there homes traveling by bus after recent fighting between Nigerian government forces and Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. 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. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)  (The Associated Press)

  • People stand with there belongings as they leave there homes traveling by bus after recent fighting between Nigerian government forces and  Boko Haram militants in  Maiduguri, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. 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.  (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

    People stand with there belongings as they leave there homes traveling by bus after recent fighting between Nigerian government forces and Boko Haram militants in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015. 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. (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)  (The Associated Press)

  • Protestors hold banners during a protest in Abuja, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, against the possible postponement of the Nigerian elections. Civil rights groups staged a small protest Saturday against any proposed postponement. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)

    Protestors hold banners during a protest in Abuja, Nigeria, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, against the possible postponement of the Nigerian elections. Civil rights groups staged a small protest Saturday against any proposed postponement. (AP Photo/Lekan Oyekanmi)  (The Associated Press)

A Nigerian official says the electoral commission is postponing Feb. 14 elections for six weeks to give a new multinational force time to secure northeastern areas under the sway of Boko Haram.

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.

A major offensive with warplanes and ground troops from Chad and Nigeria already has forced the insurgents from a dozen towns and cities in the past 10 days. Even greater military strikes by more countries are planned.

The official knowledgeable about discussions by the Independent National Electoral Commission says the commission will announce the postponement later Saturday.