Niger military dissolves govt

Niger military dissolves govt

Niger military dissolves govt

Niger armed forces personnel block the road with a vehicle in Niamey on Friday. AFP

The Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD) announced that its head would be squadron leader Salou Djibo, whose heavily armed unit played a key role in Thursday’s coup.

“The government is dissolved,” said a statement signed by Djibo and read by an unnamed military officer on state television. “The CSRD informs the population that public business will be run by secretaries of ministries and local government administrators.”

Soldiers in Niger ousted Tandja amid gunbattles that killed at least three troops on Thursday. “On this day, February 18, we the defence and security forces, decided to take our responsibilities in ending the tense political situation,” said CSRD spokesman colonel Goukoye Abdoulkarim.

Commander of Niger’s elite military unit and former member of the junta behind the 1999 coup, colonel Dijibrilla Hima Hamidou, flanked the spokesman who announced the take over. Tandja had defied outcry both inside the country and abroad at his move to change the constitution to allow himself to extend his grip on power.

Gunfire and loud explosions sounded across the capital Niamey as soldiers assaulted the presidential palace where Tandja, the country’s strongman for the past decade, presided over a cabinet meeting. The new military council declared a dusk-to-dawn on Friday.

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