Voters die as violence clouds Senegal election

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The Independent Online
Dakar (Reuter) - Twenty people were killed during Senegal's presidential election yesterday when a truck carrying voters of the ruling Socialist Party hit a landmine in the troubled southern Casamance province, official sources said. The explosion near Niadour, 12 miles from the provincial capital of Ziguinchor, came just 24 hours after six people were killed and a dozen wounded when rebels ambushed a bush taxi in the same area on Saturday, the sources said.

Chaos reigned at many polling stations. Practical hitches which delayed voting for hours in many areas were gradually ironed out, and there were no reports of election violence. President Abdou Diouf, who has run the country for 12 years, is tipped to beat seven other candidates. But he faces a tough race against his main challenger, Abdoulaye Wade, the opposition leader. Huge queues of voters built up at many polling stations in Dakar as officials battled with a range of practical difficulties: missing equipment, shortages of ballot papers and 'indelible' ink which turned out to be washable. 'There weren't even any padlocks for the ballot boxes. I had to buy one out of my own pocket,' one frustrated official said.