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Niger Former Deputy Junta Leader Arrested

Niger's Colonel Abdoulaye Baide during ceremonies for the 50th anniversary of the country's independence in Niamey, 3 August 2010

The former deputy leader of Niger's ruling military government has been arrested in the capital, Niamey.

Colonel Abdoulaye Badie was arrested Wednesday, three days after his post as the junta's number two leader was eliminated.

Niger's top military leader, General Salou Djibo, signed a decree Sunday abolishing Badie's job as permanent secretary to the junta. The decree did not state why the post was abolished.

Badie was being held Thursday at the military's headquarters in the capital. It was not immediately clear why Badie was arrested.

Military patrols in Niamey have increased in the past several days.

General Djibo has promised to return the country to civilian rule and has scheduled a constitutional referendum later this month to start the process.

The military government came into power in February, after ousting president Mamadou Tandja, who had refused to leave office when his term expired last year.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.