Niger: 10 key dates since independence

18th February 2016, Comments 0 comments

Ahead of Sunday's presidential election in Niger, here are 10 key dates in the West African nation since its independence from France on August 3, 1960:

- Coups -

- April 15, 1974: a coup led by army chief Seyni Kountche overthrows post-independence president Diori Hamani. Kountche runs the country with an iron fist until his death in 1987.

- January 27, 1996: Mahamane Ousmane, who three years earlier had become the country's first democratically-elected leader, is overthrown in a coup led by Ibrahim Bare Mainassara.

- April 9, 1999: Mainassara is killed during a coup engineered by the presidential guard. A junta comes to power which is replaced eight months later by a civilian government headed by Mamadou Tandja.

- February 18, 2010: Tandja is toppled by a military junta after fighting around the presidential palace. He had stoked a crisis in 2009 by changing the constitution in order to stay in power.

- March 12, 2011: opposition figure Mahamadou Issoufou wins the second round of the presidential election. His investiture in April ends the military transition which started after the 2010 coup.

- Islamist attacks -

- September 16, 2010: Militants from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb seize seven people, five of whom are French, from a huge uranium mine run by French company Areva at Arlit in northern Niger. The last of the French hostages are freed in 2013.

- May 23, 2013: Niger is hit by two suicide attacks claimed by two jihadist groups targeting a military camp at Agadez and an Areva uranium site in the north. Around 20 people, mainly soldiers, are killed.

- April 25, 2015: At least 74 soldiers and civilians are killed in an attack by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram on a military position in the south east. 32 people are also listed as missing.

- Tensions ahead of presidential -

- November 14, 2015: Issoufou opponent Hama Amadou is arrested and jailed on his return to Niamey from exile in France, where he fled in 2014 after being accused of taking part in a baby trafficking scandal. He has denied the allegations and claims that "a political case" has been mounted to prevent him from running in the February 21 election.

- December 17, 2015: Issoufou says the government has "foiled" a coup plot, resulting in a number of arrests of soldiers across the country. Opposition figures rubbish the claim, accusing the government of seeking to manipulate the political climate ahead of the elections.

© 2016 AFP

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