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Coup in Niger

Sunday, February 21, 2010
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Mr Ibn Chambas said the coup leaders were keen to return to normal duties (Photo by AFP).

There was a coup in Niger recently and the military junta held a press conference justifying their position and stating that they would work to restore democracy to the country.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported:

Niger’s new military leaders promised Saturday to hold elections, but specified no date, as thousands rallied in support of the coup that ousted the strongman of the uranium-rich west African nation.

“Our intention is to stabilise the political situation… We plan to organise elections but first we have to stabilise the situation,” Colonel Djibrilla Hamidou Hima, one of the junta leaders told journalists in Mali.

Hima, speaking in Bamako, said: “The deadline will be announced at the right moment… It has been hardly 48 hours. We want to rally the people and create conditions” for an election.

He said he had “explained” the reasons for the coup to the region’s leaders gathered in the Malian capital for a regional summit, adding: “They have understood us.”

Niger’s opposition also called for polls at a mass rally in the capital Niamey as they threw their weight behind the ouster of president Mamadou Tandja on Thursday.

IOL has reported mass rallies in support of the coup despite condemnation from the UN, ECOWAS, and the AU:

All three organisations have condemned the overthrow of Tandja, a strongman who had led the uranium-rich nation for more than a decade.

The country’s new military rulers were continuing to whip up popular support on Sunday.

Thousands of people, including students and civil servants, took part in a “gigantic demonstration” in the west African country’s second city Zinder, official Voix du Sahel radio said.

The turnout was “to salute the defence and security forces for the patriotic work which it has accomplished,” the radio said.

Opposition parties which had rallied international condemnation of Tandja for unilaterally extending his presidential mandate last year had called for a massive show of support for the junta.

Supporters chanted “Long Live the Army” and other pro-junta slogans as they marched through the southern city.

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