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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 07:04 GMT 08:04 UK
Powerful regional leader in Niger suspended

One of Niger's most powerful traditional chiefs - the Sultan of Zinder - has been suspended.

The Interior Ministry said it had taken the action because the Sultan, Elhadj Aboubacar Sanda, was being investigated on charges of plotting to overthrow the government, murder, gun running, money laundering and drug trafficking.

The allegations were made by members of Mr Aboubacar's family.

But his supporters accuse Niger's President Mamadou Tandja, of pursuing a vendetta against Mr Aboubacar.

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