Breaking News: Gunfire heard near Niger’s presidency

Heavy gunfire was heard near Niger’s presidency in the capital, Niamey, in the early hours of Wednesday, two days ahead of the swearing-in of president-elect Mohamed Bazoum, according to Reuters and AFP news agency.

Heavy gunfire started around 3am local time (02:00 GMT) and lasted for about 30 minutes, Reuters news agency reported.

The government of Niger was not immediately available for comment.

There have been growing attacks by armed groups, and political tensions in the country following Bazoum’s victory in a February presidential election runoff. Former President Mahamane Ousmane, who lost in the runoff, has rejected the results, alleging fraud.

Last week, Niger’s top court confirmed Bazoum’s victory in the presidential runoff, allowing the ruling party candidate to be sworn into office on April 2. Bazoum’s inauguration on Friday will mark the West African country’s first transfer of power from one democratically elected leader to another.

Bazoum, a former interior minister, was the preferred successor and right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou, who stepped down after two five-year terms.

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