French newspaper Le Monde reported that President François Hollande had authorized “unofficial military action” in the conflict-ridden North African state.
With more than 65 percent of the poll results released Thursday, a run-off vote seems possible.
France’s prime minister, on a visit to Burkina Faso, promised to aid five African countries that are fighting Islamic militants.
Tensions are rising amid a failed military coup, a slew of contentious arrests and one presidential challenger running his campaign from behind bars.
Friday's bombing was the latest in a series of deadly attacks in the northern part of the country.
Nigerian army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said troops ambushed Boko Haram militants Wednesday night as they emerged from their hideouts in Sambisa forest.
With Nigeria-based Boko Haram militants posing a threat in West Africa, concerns have risen about terrorists using full-body veils to hide bombs.
Cooperation between the U.S. and African nations has increased as ISIS has exploited a power vacuum in Libya, a U.S. commander said.
An elderly doctor and his wife who have lived in Djibo since 1972 reportedly were taken hostage near the border with Mali and Niger.
Attackers stormed the Splendid Hotel in the African nation's capital, leading to an intense exchange of gunfire with security forces.
In a recent media chat, President Muhammadu Buhari said hijab might be outlawed if suicide bombings continue.
Roch Marc Kabore was sworn in as president of the African nation Tuesday, succeeding longtime ruler Blaise Compaore.
While the Islamic State group was reportedly responsible for 6,073 fatalities in 2014, Boko Haram was even more lethal, with a body count of 6,644.
President Muhammadu Buhari has given a Dec. 31 deadline to the country's army to defeat the militant group, which has killed tens of thousands of people.
Russia is arming Kyrgyzstan's military, to the northeast of Afghanistan, to counter threats from the Islamic State group.
According to Unicef, the militant group Boko Haram has put more than a million children out of school in Northern Africa.
Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS in March. The militant group in Nigeria apparently has killed more than 1,000 people in the past two months.
Saudi Arabia announced Tuesday a newly formed, 34-nation military alliance to fight ISIS. Nigeria was among the countries named that was caught off guard by the announcement.
To curb the growing number of attacks by Boko Haram female suicide bombers, West African leaders are seeking to bar women from wearing Islamic veils in public.
The Saudi government has not updated its initial figure of 769 casualties since the incident occurred in September.
The Pentagon's proposal would ensure a U.S. military presence in some of the world's most volatile regions for the foreseeable future.
Suicide bombings, often carried out by young women, are becoming almost daily occurrences in Cameroon's Far North region.
Four civilians were killed in northern Cameroon in a suicide bomb assault by suspected Boko Haram militants
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in the past six years, and suspected militants from the group have reportedly carried out recent attacks in neighboring countries including Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
The U.K. Foreign Office has recommended Brits not travel to these 18 countries.