Voters in the poor Western African nation cast their ballots in an election marred by fears of extremist violence and accusations of political repression against incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou. Pavithra George reports.
Voters in Niger headed to the polls to cast their ballot in a tense presidential vote. The Western African country has closed its borders and ramped up security to foil possible unrest or militant attacks, with security forces patrolling the main cities and villages even as voters lined up to vote. Incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou, seen here at a polling station in the capital Niamey, is under fire from rivals who claim he has used political repression to silence the opposition. (SOUNDBITE) (French) NIGER PRESIDENT, MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU, SAYING: "I hope that these elections proceed calmly and peacefully. In any case, there will only be one winner, and that is Niger." Issoufou is running for his second term with promises to develop one of the poorest countries in the world and crush the threat of Islamist militant groups like Boko Haram which has staged a series of attacks in recent months in the country's southeast. Even so, Niger prides itself on being peaceful relative to its more restive neighbors Nigeria, Libya and Mali.