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

    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

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.