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Niger Sources: Two Officers in Military Government Arrested

Security sources in Niger say two senior officers have been arrested on allegations of trying to overthrow the military government.

The sources Saturday said the former number two leader of the ruling junta, Colonel Abdoulaye Badie, and another top commander, Colonel Abdou Sidikou, are being detained as part of an investigation into an alleged plot against the state.

There were reports earlier in the week that Badie had been arrested. However, he told VOA Friday morning that the accounts of his arrest were false. There was no word from Badie on Saturday.

He was removed from his post as permanent secretary to the military government earlier this week.

In another development, Niger's military government announced it has fired the minister of equipment, Amadou Diallo. No reason was given.

The junta, led by General Salou Djibo, has been in power in Niger since February, after ousting President Mamadou Tandja, who refused to leave office when his term expired last year.

General Djibo has promised to return the country to civilian rule, starting with a constitutional referendum later this month.

Military patrols in the capital of Niamey have increased over the past several days.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.