Just days ago, Niger had conducted its Presidential run-off elections, hoping for a peaceful and democratic transition in their government. However, as soon as the Electoral Commission announced Bazoum, former cabinet minister, as the winner, opposition supporters took to the streets, blocking roads, looting, and protesting the results. The tensions surged when the state officers got involved. The demonstrators were hurling stones at them while they threw teargas. The incident was complete mayhem.
The protests had extended to the ruling party’s offices. Sources confirmed that the protestors torched the building, leaving them damaged. Also, two people got severely injured. Later reports confirmed that one of the victims who died was the bodyguard of politician Seini Oumarou. The latter did not pass the first round of the voting, which occurred on December 27th last year.
Attack on Journalist’s Home
Other than the Niamey protests, unknown assailants were also alleged to have attacked the home of a reporter in Niamey. The victim at hand, Journalist Moussa Kaka, is a famous Radio France Internationale reporter. Mr. Moussa, though he escaped the attack, stated that the raiders ransacked his home early Thursday, breaking everything and setting part of it to flames.
Kaka, a veteran correspondent for Radio France Internationale, spent ten months of his life in prison over endangering state security charges. He was accused of working together with the Tuareg rebels, who are active in northern Niger.
Meanwhile, the RFI management released a statement following the attack on Kaka’s home. They alleged that Kaka’s house was deliberately vandalized, considering he is a journalist, and they condemned the incident, dubbing it a severe attack on the freedom of the press. The management also vowed to stand in support for Kaka amid the intimidation.
Concerned Organizations Call for Peace
The United Nations and ECOWAS, the 15 nation regional block, issued a joint statement criticizing its surging violence. They urged the conflicting parties in the country to resolve their differences and restore peace. The Government of Niger nevertheless claimed that Hama Amadou, a prominent opposition figure, was responsible for inciting the violence.
Interior Minister, Alkache Alhada, stated that the violence began after the opposition leader refuted the election results and alleged voters’ malpractice. Currently, he is on the run and nowhere to be found. Alhada assured the people of finding him and putting him behind bars. Unfortunately, Niger is one of the world’s poorest states, yet civil violence and insurgencies continue to erode its already crippled economy.
Ex top General Arrested
A former top general, Moumouni Boureima, reportedly to be close with Amadou, was arrested following allegations of inciting the arrest. Mr. Amadou, who is currently in hiding, was a former President of Niger, ruled consecutively for three terms before being dethroned. At some point, he was the state’s Prime Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly.
He vied several times to re-secure the Presidential seat, with each time his efforts being futile. Nevertheless, him claiming victory in the recent elections makes no sense considering he lost the first presidential run-off to Bazoum.