NIAMEY – Supporters of a losing presidential candidate in Niger opened fire on police on Thursday, burning tires and throwing stones, as officials announced that two people were killed in elections later this week.
The National Election Commission on Tuesday declared the ruling party candidate Mohammed Bazoom the winner of Sunday’s by-election with 55.75% of the vote, but his opponent, His Excellency Osman, a former president, has accused him of fraud and claimed that he has won 50.3% of the vote. Won with.
Since then, two people have died and 468 have been detained during protests by Osman’s supporters in the capital Nyeye, Interior Minister Alcheche Alhada said.
Alhada said in a press conference, blaming opposition leader Hama Amadou for the violence.
There was no immediate response from Amadou, who was runner-up in the 2016 election. A criminal defect prevented him from running at this time and threw his support behind Osman.
The election meant leading the first transition from one democratically elected leader to another coup after independence from France in 1960. President Mahamadou Issoufu is stepping down after two five-year terms.
On Thursday, small groups of Osman supporters took the rocks again to the streets on police and National Guard soldiers, who responded with tear gas. Internet access has also been severely limited since Wednesday.
Some protesters set fire to private homes, including Radio France Internationale (RFI) correspondent Moussa Kaka, a Reuters witness said. RFI said in a statement that Kaka and his family were safe.
Osman, who served as president from 1993 to 1996 when he was overthrown by the military, said on Wednesday that he reserved the right to appeal the election result.
An observer mission from the Economic Community of West African States stated that the vote was conducted “under independent, fair, credible and transparent circumstances”.
However, it was hit by two attacks in which eight election workers were killed in parts of Niger, where Islamist militants regularly target civilians and the military.