Coup in Niger after a year of demonstrations and opposition.
By, Uwe Paschen.
A Coup is underway in Niamey, Niger.
The streets of Niamey are empty, Shops in the city’s Wadata market have closed their doors, taxis are no longer operating or to be fund any where in the area and civilian have looked them self up into their residences hiding under their beds.
The inevitable that many feared and tried to avoid through peaceful demonstration has happened today.
The Army is divided in Niger, Soldiers fights one another; those supporting President Tandja who has been pressured to resign and to reinstate the democratic constitution are still backed by his allies in the West so it is said.
Mr. Tandja has been in power since 1999. However, protests started last year against him as he moved to extend his grip on power, has he invoking extraordinary powers to rule by decree after dissolving parliament and the constitutional court, which opposed his plan for a referendum removing term limits.
Niger is one of Africa’s richest countries in natural resources and yet its population is one of Africa’s poorest, leading the way of the 10 poorest countries in the world.
France's foreign ministry posted a note on its Web site recommending that French citizens living in Niger stay home. Further, all travellers are urged to avoid Niger and especially the Capital Niamey.
Mr. Kane, an old friend, told me on the Telephone that after some power failures and a news black out on Thursday, the Air Sahel is broadcasting again, with official military communiqués.
It seems that the section of the army leadding the coup has now taken control over the Capital City Niamey.