News / Africa

Niger Military Appoints New Heads of State-Run Oil, Uranium Firms

Replacements precede junta's release of 14 allies of former President Mamadou Tandja accused of subversion

Niger millitary junta spokesman, Colonel Gokoye Abdul Karimou, speaking on state television in Niamey (file photo)
Niger millitary junta spokesman, Colonel Gokoye Abdul Karimou, speaking on state television in Niamey (file photo)

Niger's military rulers have released more than a dozen members of the former civilian government and replaced the heads of state-run companies that control the country's oil and uranium reserves.

The former government ministers were arrested one week ago in connection with what soldiers say were subversive activities meant to undermine the military junta's transition to civilian rule.

Interior Minister Ousmane Cissé says the 14 allies of former President Mamadou Tandja were released in the interest of national reconciliation.

Cisse says the military will establish a transitional consultative council to put the country on the path to democracy and development.  He says everyone understands the need for national reconciliation, but there will be no impunity for crimes by the previous government and those former ministers now released will remain under constant surveillance.

Since taking power in a February coup, the ruling Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy has pledged to hold elections once a new constitution is drafted to replace laws that former president Tandja used to expand his power and extend his time in office.

One of the reasons Mr. Tandja gave for staying beyond the end of his second five-year term in December was the need to finish work on a huge French uranium mine and a Chinese-financed oil refinery.

Soldiers say he misused those natural resources to benefit the former ruling party at the expense of the people of Niger, more than half of whom are now facing hunger because of poor harvests.

The military is moving to take control of the country's economy by replacing Tandja allies at key state-run firms, including those that control uranium and oil reserves.

The government owns one-third of the huge Imouraren uranium mine that the French energy firm Areva says should start production in 2013.

China's National Petroleum Corporation is pumping oil from the southwest Agadem block in exchange for building Niger's first refinery at Zinder.  The state-owned firm paid a $270-million signing bonus through the former president's son, who was then the commercial attache' at Niamey's embassy in Hong Kong.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid