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Vol 39 No 9

Published 1st May 1998


Niger

Uglier turns

Ambushed by civilian politicians, General Mai¨nassara starts to hit back

Niamey's political violence took an uglier turn on 20 April when unidentified gunmen launched a professional-looking attack on the home of the coordinator of the opposition Front pour la Restauration et la Defense de la Democratie (FRDD), Ali Sabo. Some say this was an unauthorised action by troops loyal to the President, General Ibrahim Bare; Mainassara. Many FRDD dignitaries have been harassed in recent months. Most notably former Head of State Gen. Ali Saibou was arrested in November 1997 on vague fraud charges, which were subsequently dropped. He led the country towards democracy in 1991-93 and opposed Mainassara's putsch of January 1996. The FRDD has also led opposition to the dubious elections which were subsequently arranged to confirm Mainassara as a 'civilianised' head of state, on the model favoured by Nigeria's military leader, Gen. Sani Abacha.

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