Niger’s Election Officials Killed During Voting in Presidential Elections

Niger has announced that seven lives have been lost due to a landmine bomb during the country’s presidential runoff. The seven individuals, who were members of Niger’s electoral commission (CENI), reportedly drove over a landmine in the western region of Tillaberi. This took place during the second round of presidential elections this past Saturday following the December elections where presidential candidates, Mohamed Bazoum and former President Mahamane Ousmane, failed to get the majority vote.


Read: Niger’s Presidential Election Plagued by Increasing Violence

According to Al Jazeera, the seven election officials were on their way to a polling station with ballot boxes when their car hit an explosive in Dargol. It is unclear whether the car was targeted as the region which borders Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, is a known location for al-Qaeda groups that have a history of disturbing political activities, this according to News24. The vice president of the commission for the local branch, Harouna Mounkaila, confirmed their deaths and that three other workers had been injured.

Bazoum secured 40 percent of the vote in the first round and he is, according to the BBC, the anticipated presidential elect. Ousmane ruled as president between 1993 to 1996 and like previous former presidents, was ousted in a coup and is unlikely to be elected again. The outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou abstained from running in last year’s elections and decided to step down after serving two consecutive five-year terms. The incoming president will be the first democratic president since Niger gained independence from France in 1960.

The presidential elections on the 27th Of December last year were also reportedly attacked by al-Qaeda in the regions of Tchombangou and Zaroumdareye, near the border with Mali.