Seven poll workers were killed during presidential polls in Niger on Sunday when their vehicle hit a landmine, a local official said, marking a day intended to usher in the country’s first democratic transition of power.
The West African country regularly comes under attack from Islamist militants and had tightened security to protect the poll, in which ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum faces former President Mahamane Ousmane.
A vehicle belonging to the electoral commission (CENI) and transporting electoral agents to their polling stations struck a landmine in the rural commune of Dargol in the southwest, said Harouna Mounkaila, vice-president of the local section of the CENI.
“They were leaving to deposit the ballot boxes and the members of the polling station,” Moukaila told Reuters, adding that three other workers were seriously injured.
Dargol is about 80 km (50 miles) from the border with Mali, a hotbed of militant activity. An attack on two villages near the border in January killed at least 100 civilians, the worst such incident in recent memory.
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