Violence Erupts in Niger following Presidential Election Results
Violence erupted on Tuesday, 24th of February in Niger after the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) declared former interior minister, Mohamed Bazoum victor in Sunday’s runoff vote in the Presidential elections with 55.75 percent, while opposition candidate Mahamane Ousmane garnered 44.25 percent.
Ousmane however disputed the result claiming he narrowly won with 50.3 percent of the vote.
Niger’s Interior Minister, Alkache Alhada, told reporters on Thursday that lives were lost and hundreds arrested in the unrest that arose in the country. He noted that about 468 arrests had been made “including certain politicians” whom he did not identify.
Opposition figure, Hama Amadou has been accused of being behind the unrest. Amadou was banned from contesting the Niger presidential elections because of a conviction for baby trafficking – a charge he says was politically motivated – and threw his support behind Ousmane. “Currently Amadou is on the run”, Alkache Alhada said.
On wednesday morning, the chaos continued in Niamey’s central market area. Protesters threw stones and police responded with tear gas, and at least one petrol station was attacked, according to AFP. The protesters went on to confront security forces in the southwestern town of Kollo, residents said. Internet access was also severely reduced on Wednesday in Niamey and Zinder.
In Dosso, 100km (60 miles) south of the city, the offices of a pro-government party were damaged by fire. Public and private property owned by people perceived to be close to the government were equally pillaged.