News / Africa

African Union Desires Former Niger President's Freedom

Peace and Security Council Chairman Ramtane Lamamra says Mamadou Tandja should be freed on humanitarian and reconciliation reasons

President Mamadou Tandja of Niger
President Mamadou Tandja of Niger


  • AU Peace and Security Council chairman Lamamra spoke with Butty

James Butty

The African Union said it wants former Niger President Mamadou Tandja released from further detention.

The 71 year-old Tandja, who was overthrown in a February 18 coup d’état is being held in a presidential building in the capital, Niamey.

African Union Peace and Security Council Chairman Ramtane Lamamra said Mr. Tandja should be freed for humanitarian and reconciliation reasons.

“From the point of view of national reconciliation and the need for appeasement so that they (the military junta) can succeed in conducting a transition, we think that it would be appropriate of course for him as well as for other former leaders of the country to be released,” he said.

AU Peace and Security Council Chair Ramtane Lamamra
AU Peace and Security Council Chair Ramtane Lamamra

Lamamra said the African Union was not trying to impose any demand on Niger’s transitional government.

“We are not imposing anything on governments of our member states. My understanding is that there is no specific threat to the public order, to the security of the country. And therefore as part of the need to promote national reconciliation and to promote some sort of a new beginning for the country, the best way to move forward would be not to be returned back from consequences of the previous area,” he said.

Lamamra would not say whether the African Union would like to see former President Tandja sent in exile following his return. 

“It’s not for me or the AU to determine. I think this is a country (Niger) which has shown to know that in knows how to face bigger challenges regarding the domestic situation and the regional environment,” he said.

The military junta has named a cabinet and promised a short transition period. But it has not said when it hopes to return Niger to constitutional rule.

Lamamra said the African Union welcomes the number of positive commitments made so far by the military junta, including the decision not to stand for election and the promise to fully address the root causes of the crisis in Niger.

However, he said the African Union intends to enforce its policy of non-constitutional change of government.

“Due notice has to be taken of the fact that the African Union doctrine stipulates that the timeframe for restoring constitutional order should not exceed six months,” Lamamra said.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs