Voting In Dangerous Times: Half Of Burkina Faso Votes As Half Cower From Jihadists

People are voting in Burkina Faso’s presidential election, although polls are closed in parts of the north and east because of fears of jihadist violence, reports the BBC.

President Roch Kabore is seeking a second five-year term, with 13 opposition candidates challenging him.

At least 400,000 would-be voters were unable to register because of the security situation.

Brutal attacks have forced more than than one million civilians from their homes in the past two years alone.

Campaigning was halted for 48 hours last week following a deadly ambush on soldiers in the north of the country.

Up to a fifth of the country is out of state control, estimates suggest, with rival jihadist groups battling for dominance and also attacks by other armed militias.

Most polling stations opened at 06:00 am and are expected to close at 6 pm.

In the northern town of Djibo polling stations opened 30 minutes late according to local sources, but everything is going well and there’s a heavy security presence, says the BBC Afrique correspondent Simon Gongo.

President Kabore cast his vote in a school in the capital Ouagadougou and urged people to take part.

“I call on all Burkinabe to vote, whatever their leaning. It’s about the democracy of Burkina Faso, it’s about development, it’s about peace,” he said.

The election is also being held amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Many businesses and schools were forced to close in parts of the country. In September, the UN warned that more than 500,000 Burkinabé children were acutely malnourished.

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