Indiana Daily Student

Niger gains new leader following military coup

Major Salou Djibo, the president of the Supreme Council for Restoration of Democracy, has been named as Niger’s new leader of the military junta.

“The highest authority designing and directing national policy is headed by a president who exercises the functions of the head of state and government,” the CSRD said in its decree Monday.

Djibo’s new role as the leader of Niger follows the military coup lead by the CSRD on Feb. 18. Armed Nigerian soldiers entered the palace at noon and captured Niger’s President Mamadou Tandja during a government meeting. Upon entering, they began firing and shots occurred for nearly 30 minutes nonstop, followed by more shooting in less rapid intervals.

The operation, though successful politically, caused at least 10 casualties. Violence broke out in the streets and people quickly evacuated the premises and fled indoors.
During the coup the soldiers effectively removed Tandja from his office. He remains in their custody.

Tandja was overthrown after more than 10 years of holding the office of president. He recently revised Niger’s constitution to allow him to lead the country for a longer period than previously allowed.

Tandja’s term was supposed to end this past December. However, he appointed a new Constitutional Court in May to pass a constitutional referendum that would allow him three more years to rule Niger. He also changed the previous semi-presidential system practiced in Niger to a purely presidential system. This referendum was passed in August and since then Niger has faced many problems both domestically and internationally.

Now, with the CSRD in power, the world will watch as Niger begins its journey toward a new era of government. Many are hopeful that this regime change will bring positive changes and economic growth to Niger.

The CSRD issued an official decree to be read on the state radio to state its aims. In the decree, it said that its primary aim is “to make its contribution for the creation of a new constitution and the organization of free, honest and transparent elections.”

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