LATEST UPDATES | Seven ballotworkers killed by landmine as Niger votes in presidential runoff

A member of the close protection team of the Niger Prime Minister patrols in the desert of Iferouane on 12 February 2020.

A member of the discontinuance safety team of the Niger Prime Minister patrols within the barren put of Iferouane on 12 February 2020.

PHOTO: Souleymane Ag Anara/AFP

  • The vehicle belonging to the electoral commission struck a landmine within the village of Dargol.
  • The employees within the vehicle had been leaving to plunge off ballotboxes.
  • Seven other people had been killed within the explosion whereas three others had been severely wounded.

Seven election workers had been killed throughout Niger’s presidential vote on Sunday when their vehicle struck a landmine, a local decent acknowledged, marring a day meant to herald the country’s first democratic transition of vitality.

The West African country continually suffers attacks by Islamist militants and had stepped up security to protect the ballot, throughout which ruling occasion candidate Mohamed Bazoum goes via former president Mahamane Ousmane.

A vehicle belonging to the electoral commission (CENI) and carrying election workers to their polling stations hit a mine within the rural commune of Dargol within the southwest, acknowledged Harouna Mounkaila, the vice president of CENI’s local division.

“They had been leaving to plunge off the ballotboxes and the contributors of the polling field,” Moukaila informed Reuters, including that three varied workers had been severely wounded.

Dargol is set 80 kms from the border with Mali, a hotbed of militant activity. An assault on two villages discontinuance to the border in January killed at the very least 100 civilians, the worst such incident in latest memory.

Niger’s twin security crises – one discontinuance to its western border with Mali and Burkina Faso, where militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic Dispute characteristic, and the assorted along the south eastern border with Nigeria, where Boko Wound is intriguing – had been the dominant marketing campaign problems.


Within the important thing round on 27 December, ruling occasion candidate Bazoum, a former interior and foreign places affairs minister, gained 39.3% of the vote to Ousmane’s 17%. Bazoum then gained the endorsements of the candidates who got right here third and fourth within the important thing round.

Within the capital Niamey, the vote looked as if it may per chance possibly scurry smoothly. After casting his ballot, President Mahamadou Issoufou, who is stepping down after two 5-yr phrases, hailed the historic nature of the election in a country that has seen four coups since independence from France in 1960.

Bazoum, for his phase, projected self assurance.

“I hope that success is on my aspect, but I of course bear many reasons to evaluate it’s a ways certainly,” he acknowledged.

The 61-yr-extinct Bazoum has vowed to proceed Issoufou’s policies to crack down on militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic Dispute and to revamp the economic system.

Ousmane, 71, was Niger’s first democratically elected president and was ousted in a 1996 militia coup. Endorsed by round a dozen smaller events and first round candidates, he has promised to carry replace and model out corruption.

“The vote is in every potential between continuity and replace,” acknowledged Mahamadou Harouna, a 30-yr-extinct student who declined to command how he voted.

One in every of the enviornment’s poorest worldwide locations, Niger has struggled with drought, floods, coronavirus and inclined prices for its main export, uranium.

Ousmane has rejected the identical old wisdom that Bazoum is the favourite, alleging that the ruling occasion candidate’s first-round margin was attributable to fraud, without providing evidence.

“If the electorate ever gaze fraud all all over again, I agonize the problem can be complicated to manage,” he acknowledged after balloting on Sunday.

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