The home of a Radio France International (RFI) reporter was burned down Thursday during post-election violence in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
RFI correspondent Moussa Kaka and his family were not harmed in the attack, but their house was badly damaged.
The French public broadcaster said it believes Kaka was targeted for his journalism and noted the attack took place just four days after the second round of the presidential election.
“This is a very serious attack on the freedom of the press and the safety of our colleague,” RFI said in a statement Friday. It added that Kaka plans to file a complaint with police.
Several houses and buildings were set on fire this week amid tensions following the vote.
The electoral commission declared the ruling party’s candidate Mohamed Bazoum the winner in Sunday's runoff vote. Opposition candidate Mahamane Ousmane disputed the result, calling them fraudulent.
Ousmane previously served as president, from 1993 to 1996, when the military overthrew him.
“Two people in Niger have died in post-election violence and hundreds have been arrested,” the government said Thursday in a statement.
The arson comes a few months after Kaka, a longtime correspondent for RFI, received anonymous threats online, RFI said.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said Kaka has been dealing with death threats for more than two months. Arnaud Froger, who is head of RSF’s Africa desk, said the journalist received more than 1,000 death threats.
“He had already filed a complaint back in December and nothing has happened so far,” Froger told VOA.
With tensions mounting, Froger said it was “regrettable” that more wasn’t done to prevent attacks. “It is the duty of political leaders not to incite their supporters to violence,” he said.
Niger’s Interior Minister Alkache Alhada blamed a prominent opposition figure, Hama Amadou, for stoking the unrest.
Amadou lost his presidential bid in 2016 and was prevented from running this time because of criminal conviction. He publicly supported Ousmane in the vote. There was no immediate response from Amadou, Reuters said.
Source: Voice of America