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Vote counting begins in Nigeria

The final results of the election are not expected until Tuesday.

Nigerians vote in that country’s presidential election on 28 March 2015. Picture: Samson Omale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Even though the election is yet to start or be concluded in some parts of Nigeria, vote counting has begun in some of the 36 states of the country.

The poll is seen as the first election in Africa's most populous nation in which an opposition candidate has a serious chance of unseating the incumbent, and widespread fears it could trigger violence are already becoming reality.

Islamist Boko Haram insurgents launched several attacks on voters in the northeast, killing three in Yobe state and three more in Gombe state, police said.

The militants, who are trying to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in religiously mixed Nigeria, reject democracy and their leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened to kill those who go to vote.

The presidential and national assembly elections commenced across Nigeria on Saturday, as rescheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec).

Although many Nigerians turned out to vote, there were challenges of delay in the arrival of materials and issues with the operations of the card readers.

Hackers breached the website of the electoral commission potentially compromising the fairness of the outcome.

Inec has since adjusted the guidelines for the elections to address some of the challenges being faced during the accreditation process across the country, to ensure a successful completion of the process even if voting and vote counting runs into Sunday.

The final results are not expected until Tuesday.

At the same time, the Al Jazeera network is demanding the release of two of its journalists detained for almost a week in the country.

Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa were apprehended after returning from a story on the Nigerian forces fighting Boko Harram in the Borno State.

The military has confiscated their equipment and say the pair entered the areas without protection, accreditation and clearance.

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow said, "It seems the military detained them four days ago and are not allowing them to come out of their hotel. We don't know the reason for that as our journalists have been fair and objective."