Violence erupted after the electoral commission declared former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum the winner in Sunday’s second round of voting.
At least two people have been killed and hundreds arrested in the post-election violence in Niger.
Violence erupted on Tuesday after the electoral commission declared former interior minister Mohamed Bazoum the winner in Sunday’s second round of voting with 55.75%, while opposition candidate Mahamane Ousmane garnered some 44.25%.
Ousmane disputed the result and claimed he narrowly won with 50.3% of the vote.
“The death toll is two,” Interior Minister Alkache Alhada told reporters on Thursday, adding that 468 arrests had been made “including some politicians” whom he did not identify.
One of the two deaths occurred as a result of an epileptic seizure during a protest, Alhada said, adding that the other, who had been shot, was the bodyguard of politician Seini Oumarou, a candidate not selected in the first ballot on December 27. who had urged supporters to vote for Bazoum in the second round.
There was also “destruction of infrastructure, public and private property”.
Alhada accused a prominent opposition figure, Hama Amadou, of being “primarily responsible” for the unrest.
“[Amadou] is wanted and, as usual, he’s on the run, but we’ll find him, ”Alhada said.
Amadou was banned from running for office on a conviction for trafficking in babies – a charge he said was politically motivated – and supported Ousmane.
The elections were touted as a democratic turning point for the Sahel state – the poorest nation in the world, according to the UN benchmark for human development, and a country battling two armed rebellions.
President Mahamadou Issoufou voluntarily resigns after two five-year terms, paving the way for the first elected transition since independence from France in 1960.
Police clashed with protesters in the capital, Niamey, on Tuesday and Wednesday, while in Dosso, 100 km south of the city, the offices of a pro-government party were damaged by fire.