News / Africa

Soldiers Name New Leader in Niger, International Community Opposes Coup

TV frame grab shows Colonel Gokoye Abdul Karimou, spokesman for the Niger millitary junta delivering a televised statement in Niamey, 19 Feb 2010
TV frame grab shows Colonel Gokoye Abdul Karimou, spokesman for the Niger millitary junta delivering a televised statement in Niamey, 19 Feb 2010
TEXT SIZE - +

Soldiers in Niger have named a new military leader following Thursday's coup against  President Mamadou Tandja.

Squadron chief Salou Djibo leads Niger's new Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. He commands a heavy artillery unit that played a key role in Thursday's attack on the presidential palace.

President Tandja was detained while holding a cabinet meeting. He is now reportedly being held at a military barracks outside the capital.

After initially announcing the dissolution of the entire government, coup leaders say Tandja ministers will keep their jobs for the time being.

Soldiers suspended the constitution, but they have lifted a dusk-to-dawn curfew and Friday re-opened the country's borders. A reporter for VOA in Niamey says government offices and banks opened normally Friday, markets were busy and public transport operated as usual.

Announcing the coup late Thursday, Colonel Abdoul Karim Goukoye Karimou said Niger's defense and security forces took responsibility to end the country's tense political situation.

Colonel Karimou says soldiers are asking the people of Niger to remain calm and stay united around the ideals of the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy which he says will be able to make Niger an example of democracy and good governance, in keeping with other countries and the price of peace and stability.

The African Union has condemned the coup and is calling for a quick return to democracy. The head of the Economic Community of West African states, acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, called on Niger's opposition leaders and security forces to resolve the constitutional crisis through dialogue.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson says Washington opposes the coup. "We hope that those who have taken power in Niger will act very quickly and swiftly to move to a transition government that will lead to elections and a resumption of democratic constitutional rule in that country." he said.

President Tandja grew increasingly unpopular since an August referendum that changed the constitution to expand his powers and give him another three years in office.

When Niger's constitutional court and parliament said the referendum was illegal, President Tandja replaced them with new judges and new lawmakers who backed his new government.

Regional diplomats had been trying to negotiate a power-sharing agreement that would have allowed President Tandja to stay in office while an interim government organized new elections.

They must now work with the country's new military leaders to return Niger to constitutional rule. Two of the men involved in this coup - Dijibrilla Hima Mamidou and Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna - played big parts in Niger's 1999 coup. That take-over lasted less than a year before the military held elections that were won by President Tandja.

Political analyst Kouly Mahamane says military action was the only way out of Niger's political impasse.

Before the coup, there were two camps in Niger - the president's political opponents who wanted to return to the previous constitution, and the president's supporters who wanted to continue with the new government created after the August referendum. Mahamane says the way out of the crisis should have been through compromise. As there was no compromise, Mahamane says the only way to resolve the crisis was through this coup d'etat.

Opposition politician Alat Mogaskya says he hopes the country's new military leaders will quickly restore democracy.

Mogaskya says no politicians are surprised by the coup because President Tandja stole power and refused to talk to the opposition, so the only way forward was military action. He says President Tandja knew that the previous government ended with a military coup, so why would his own government not end the same way?

Mogaskya says no one is surprised about what has happened, not even President Tandja.

This Niamey businessman said Niger's problems should have been solved through consensus. But he says unfortunately, soldiers have taken power. So the people of Niger are now asking them to organize elections in the shortest time possible.

This civil servant returned to work as usual Friday, pleased that the tension of the last few months has finally broken.

He says everyone was waiting for something to happen at anytime because there was no agreement between the parties. He says the biggest problem now is not the coup but keeping Niger from going backwards.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid