Burkina Faso votes under looming threat of violence

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Counter of votes in Burkina Faso, on November 29, 2015. After Voters in Burkina Faso cast ballots on November 29 for a new president and parliament, hoping to turn the page on a year of turmoil during which the west African nation's people ousted a veteran ruler and repelled a military coup. (Photo by Arne Gillis/NurPhoto) (Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
File Photo: Counting of votes in Burkina Faso, on November 29, 2015. After Voters in Burkina Faso cast ballots on November 29 for a new president and parliament.(Photo by NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Burkina Faso is heading to the polls today in an election dominated by jihadist violence, which has cost over 2,000 lives this year and will prevent voting in hundreds of villages, Reuters has reported.

President Roch Kaboré is seeking a second five-year term, campaigning on achievements including free healthcare for children under the age of five, and paving some of the red dirt roads that snake across the arid West African country.

According to the Reuters report, a surge in attacks by groups with links to the militant groups al Qaeda and Islamic State has eclipsed everything else.

Just three weeks after his inauguration, al Qaeda’s regional branch attacked a hotel and a cafe in the capital, killing 32 people.

The president is facing stiff opposition from former finance minister Zephirin Diabré, the runner-up in 2015, and Eddie Komboigo, who runs the party of Blaise Campaoré, the president of 27 years who was overthrown in 2014.

Analysts expect a tight race that could go to a second round if no candidate wins more than 50%.

Provisional results of the first round are expected by midweek.

 

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