By Paul Ejime
Residents of Niger’s capital, Niamey reported heavy gunfire near the presidential palace Wednesday morning in what appeared to be another attempted coup ahead of President-Elect Mohamed Bazoum’s inauguration on Friday.
Media reports said the shooting lasted for about 20 minutes. The defence ministry was expected to issue an official statement on the situation.
Former Foreign Minister Bazoum is an ally of out-going President-Mahamadou Issouffou.
The Constitutional Court last week confirmed Bazoum’s victory in the February 21 presidential run-off election with 55 per cent of the vote.
But his opponent, former President Mahamane Ousmanane, who received 45 per cent of the vote has rejected the poll results and called for a peaceful protest.
Niger, one of the world’s poorest nations is scarred by insecurity with perennial ethnic crisis, jihadist insurrections and political instability, characterized by several military successful and attempted coups.
There were coups in the country in 1974, 1996, 1999 and in 2010.