On Sunday, Niger citizens cast their votes during a presidential run-off election. That marked the first time their country will have a peaceful transition of power. Though the Sahel state has seen a surge in militia attacks, civilians remain hopeful the process will be democratic and peaceful. Tillaberi, one of the violence-prone regions in Niger, has nevertheless served as a hotspot for militia groups in the country. Recently, seven election workers in the area succumbed after their vehicle hit a mine and blew up.
According to sources, a vehicle belonging to Niger’s electoral commission struck a landmine in the rural community of Dargol. The incident happened when the car was heading to specific polling stations in the country’s southwestern region. While seven workers died on the spot, three others sustained severe injuries.
“They were leaving to drop off the ballot boxes and the members of the polling station,” Harouna Mounkaila, the commission’s vice president, told Reuters.
Three other workers were seriously wounded, Mounkaila said the news service.
Dargol is a region in western Tillaberi, where Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger meet. Armed groups linked to ISIS and al-Qaeda have strengthened their foothold in the area, hence frequently launch attacks. In January, militia groups attacked the part killing close to 100 people. The resurgent attacks have seized the attention of human rights watchdog and the world at large. Abductions, murder, rape, looting, and even burning of homes have made Niger insecure. Many people monthly flee the unending chaos.
Any Investigations on the Blast?
Currently, there is no certainty if the incident was an accident or a ploy to sabotage the election process. News sources reported that thousands of forces had been deployed in the country in case of any melee.
The leading Presidential candidates have been placed under watch. Mr. Mohamed Bazoum, the leading Presidential candidate, is contesting against Mahamane Ousmane. Mr. Bazoum is quite conversant with Nigers government as he was once a member of the former President. Chances are he might win the final presidency considering the public loves him. Similarly, his opposition also ruled as a President for three consecutive years before being dethroned.
Bazoum, who the President endorses, announced during one of his rallies that he would continue with Issoufou’s policies towards curbing extremist attacks in the country if they elect him. Bazoum also secured support from two other candidates after he won the first round of the Presidential elections.
“I hope that luck will be with the winner… I have many reasons to believe it’s indeed on my side,” Bazoum said as he cast his ballot.
Ousmane has also promised to address security concerns in the country and change the country’s leadership. Nevertheless, Mr. Ousmane, who was not contented with the Presidential elections’ first-round alleged voters’ malpractice. Unfortunately, he does not have evidence to back his allegations. Meanwhile, according to CENI, the country’s independent electoral commission, they had confiscated various fake votes in rural areas. Niger has a total of 22 million people, though only 7.4 million are eligible voters.
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