Niger presidential election heads to second round

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Provisional results show Niger's presidential election is headed to a runoff vote next month after the incumbent failed to receive 50 percent of the vote.

The national electoral commission announced Friday that President Mahamadou Issoufou finished first with 48.41 percent. The second-place finisher, Hama Amadou, got 17.79 percent, according to the provisional results.

In seeking re-election, Issoufou has touted his record of defending the West African nation from Islamic extremists.

Amadou, a former prime minister, has been detained since November for his alleged involvement in a baby-trafficking scheme, a charge he has dismissed as politically motivated.

The two are now expected to face off in a March 20 runoff.

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