Saturday, February 27, 2021

Niger presidential run-off: Seven election workers killed

In January, at least 100 civilians were killed in an attack on two villages near the border, which is a hotbed of military activity.

• February 23, 2021
Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger president
Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger president

A vehicle conveying election workers to the polling station during Niger’s presidential poll on Sunday hit a landmine, killing seven, with three others seriously wounded, Reuters reports.

The vehicle belonging to the electoral commission (CENI) hit the explosive device in the rural commune of Dargol in the South-West, said Harouna Mounkaila, the vice president of CENI’s local branch.

Niger had beefed up security ahead of the poll in which the ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum faced former president Mahamane Ousmane.

“They were leaving to drop off the ballot boxes and the members of the polling station,” Mr. Moukaila told Reuters, noting that three other workers sustained injuries.

Dargol is about 80 km (50 miles) from the border with Mali. 

In January, at least 100 civilians were killed in an attack on two villages near the border, which is a hotbed of military activity.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bazoum won the first round of the election in December with 39.3 percent vote to Ousmane’s 17 percent and won the endorsements of the candidates who came third and fourth in the first round.

Mr. Bazoum, after casting his vote, expressed optimism that luck is on his side, said, “I have many reasons to believe it is indeed.”

The 61-year-old former minister of interior and foreign affairs also vowed to maintain the legacy of President Mahamadou Issoufou, who is stepping down after two five-year terms, in the fight against militants.

On his part, 71-year-old Mr. Ousmane, the country’s first democratically elected president overthrown by a military coup in 1996, vowed to tackle corruption.

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