Niger’s election committee on Sunday admitted to errors in its electoral lists three months before a presidential election, confirming earlier complaints made by the opposition.
Two weeks ago, thousands of people marched to protests against vote preparations, demanding an audit from President Mahamadou Issoufou’s government.
Issoufou — a key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants in West Africa — is widely expected to seek a second five-year term in February 2016 and is the current favourite, with the opposition fragmented and one leader in jail.
“There are failings in the voter lists,” said Sabiou Gaya, deputy coordinator for the election committee, adding some of the errors included enrolment mistakes and missing polling booths.
Corrections are expected to be completed by Nov. 22, he said. Officially, the final list was due to be handed to the Independent National Electoral Commission by end-October.
On Saturday, Niger opposition leader Hama Amadou was arrested when he flew into Niamey as security forces blocked off the airport, a year after he fled the country when sought by investigators probing a child trafficking ring.
The former ally of Issoufou was transferred to the Filingue prison overnight, about 160 kilometres (99 miles) northeast of Niamey, security sources said on Sunday. He has denied the charges and claims they are politically motivated.
Another challenger to Issoufou, Abdou Labo, was officially named as a presidential candidate by his Democratic and Social Convention party (CDS) on Saturday.
Labo was also briefly detained for involvement in the trafficking of babies into Niger from neighbouring Nigeria last year, an allegation he denies.