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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora