February 18th, 2010

Niger president held by troops-military sources – What next for this nation?

Detained President Mamadou Tandja

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Niger's President Mamadou Tandja was detained by mutinous troops on Thursday after a coup in the west African uranium exporter that left at least three soldiers dead, military sources said.

Three Nigerien military sources said the coup was led by a soldier named Major Adamou Harouna.

"The coup leader has succeeded. It is being led by Major Adamou Harouna," one source said. The president and the ministers are being detained not far from the presidential palace, the sources added.

Earlier in the day plumes of smoke were seen rising from the palace after soldiers attacked the building where Tandja was holding a meeting, sparking several hours of gunfire in the capital Niamey.

For more read http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFJOE61H0U120100218

Read reelated story: http://www.france24.com/en/20100218-supreme-council-csrd-claims-suspend-constitution-niger-africa-tandja-coup-

Niger country profile

A vast, arid state on the edge of the Sahara desert, Niger endured austere military rule for much of its post-independence history and is rated by the UN as one of the world's least-developed nations.

The drought-prone country sometimes struggles to feed its people. Its main export, uranium, is prone to price fluctuations and agriculture is threatened by the encroaching desert. Niger is bargaining on oil exploration and gold mining to boost its fortunes.

Key facts:

• Full name: The Republic of Niger
• Population: 15.3 million (UN, 2009)
• Capital: Niamey
• Area: 1.27 million sq km (489,000 sq miles)
• Major languages: French (official), Arabic, Hausa, Songhai
• Major religions: Islam, indigenous beliefs
• Life expectancy: 50 years (men), 52 years (women) (UN)
• Monetary unit: 1 CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine) franc = 100 centimes
• Main exports: Uranium, livestock products
• GNI per capita: US $330 (World Bank, 2008)
• Internet domain: .ne
• International dialling code: +227

Source: (The BBC)