Niger Hit by Military Coup
Posted on Feb 19, 2010
A military junta, the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, captured Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja and his Cabinet on Thursday in a coup d’etat welcomed by opposition leaders and potentially by a population frustrated with the government, which critics say has stayed in power past its legal term.
The African Union, on the other hand, has condemned the coup, though many believe it could offer the possibility of elections that were postponed by Tandja when he changed the constitution to allow his government to remain in power indefinitely. —JCL
The junta that seized power in a military coup in Niger today identified its leader as squadron chief Salou Djibo.
Calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD), the junta yesterday stormed Niger’s presidential palace in broad daylight. They captured president Mamadou Tandja and his ministers in a four-hour gunbattle that left at least three people dead.
In a televised announcement, a spokesman for the plotters said Niger’s constitution had been suspended and all state institutions dissolved. The CSRD imposed a curfew and closed the country’s borders.
AP / Rebecca Blackwell
Niger’s deposed President Mamadou Tandja is shown in August 2009 surrounded by bodyguards as he votes in a constitutional referendum that would keep him in power.