Large numbers of Afghani voters headed to the polls on Saturday, despite the looming threat of violence which have overshadowed the run-up to the nation’s long-awaited parliamentary elections. In the months leading up to elections, ten candidates were murdered, 1/3 of polling centres were closed due to fears of violence and several explosions targeted polling stations, killing dozens and injuring many more. Afghanistan’s large young population is expected to influence the vote, as the nation desperately seeks better living conditions, jobs, education and an end to the war with the Taliban.
Over in Cameroon, veteran president Paul Biya has won a seventh term in office, in elections characterised by low turnouts and voter intimidation. Cameroon’s octogenarian leader won 71.3% of the vote, following a year-long period of violent protests and attacks by separatist rebels which have left hundreds dead. According to African Union election observers, the polls were ‘generally peaceful’, however ‘most parties were not represented’ due to fears of violence and intimidation.
The Nicaraguan government has freed 30 people who were detained last week for anti-government protests. The anti-government campaigners were arrested last week after President Ortega announced last month that all anti-government protests would be illegal, following months of violent clashes, during which hundreds of people have been killed. Many human rights groups have expressed concern over the situation in Nicaragua, and the UN have compiled an extensive report detailing the human rights violations and abuses in the context of protests in Nicaragua.
And in other news, here is my favourite International News Story of The Week: