Africa

Security-minded president vies for 2nd term in Niger vote

Voting has begun in the West African nation of Niger, where President Mahamadou Issoufou is touting his record of defending the country from Islamic extremists as he vies for a second five-year term.

Materials arrived late to some polling stations in the capital Niamey on Sunday, slightly delaying the 8 a.m. start time for the presidential and parliamentary elections. The electoral commission said polling stations would stay open until 7 p.m.

In the region of Diffa, a frequent target of attacks by Nigeria-based militant group Boko Haram, polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m.

Niger, one of the world's poorest countries, hosts French forces and American drones to combat the regional extremist threat.

Issoufou's critics have complained of a crackdown on dissent targeting politicians and journalists.