Niger, seven killed in landmine explosion

Landmine Landmine Photo by PaulFleet on iStock

21 February 2021

Seven poll officials of the electoral commission in Niger have been killed in a landmine blast, with three others seriously injured.

Seven members of Niger’s electoral commission (CENI) have been killed on Sunday, 21 February 2021. The attack took place in the western region of Tillaberi, during the country’s presidential election runoff, when the members’ vehicle hit a mine and exploded. In addition to the seven dead poll workers, three others were seriously injured. It is still not clear whether the vehicle was deliberately targeted.

As reported to Reuters by Harouna Mounkaila, vice president of the commission’s local branch, the vehicle was leaving to drop off the ballot boxes and to transport the members of the polling stations. Bordering with Burkina Faso and Mali, the region of Tillaberi has been repeatedly hit by attacks carried out by al-Qaeda and ISIS. In parallel, the southeastern border with Nigeria is a hotbed of militant Boko Haram activity. Islamist militants seem to have killed at least 100 people in two towns in western Niger in January 2021.

Due to these concerns, Niger had increased security. Al Jazeera reported that thousands of soldiers have been deployed nationwide for Sunday’s runoff between governing party candidate Mohamed Bazoum and one-time former President Mahamane Ousmane. Unfortunately, the attack took place in the course of the very first peaceful transfer of power between democratically elected presidents, after Niger experienced multiple coups since achieving independence from France in 1960.

 

To know more, please read:

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/21/7-niger-election-officials-killed-in-landmine-explosion

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56148942

https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-niger-election/niger-votes-in-presidential-runoff-to-usher-in-first-democratic-transition-idUSKBN2AL05Z

 

Author: Barbara Caltabiano

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