ON THIS DAY    9 April      Graphics version >>   BBC News >>
Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
1999: President of Niger 'killed in ambush'

The president of Niger, Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, has been shot dead in an apparent coup attempt.

However, his death has been described as a "tragic accident" by the prime minister of the west African state.

But diplomats from Niger, based in the neighbouring country of Burkina Faso, said Mr Mainassara was ambushed and shot by mutinying troops as he tried to flee the country.

The diplomats said they had been told by colleagues in Niger that the uprising began shortly after sunrise when soldiers swarmed on to the streets of the capital, Niamey.

Troops with tanks are said to have blocked access to the presidential palace and other key locations.

In a radio broadcast Niger's Prime Minister, Ibraim Assane Mayaki , announced the country's parliament had been dissolved and that all political activity had been suspended.

A government of national unity would be formed in a few days, Mr Mayaki added.

Uprisings

It is still unclear whether forces loyal to the Mr Mayaki, were involved in the president's death.

There has been no explanation for Mr Mainassara's assassination but it follows opposition calls for him to resign after the annulment of regional elections held earlier this week.

Mr Mainassara, a former army colonel, seized power in January 1996, ousting the country's first democratically elected president, Mahamane Ousmane.

Mr Mainassara said he had staged the coup because Mr Ousmane had failed to address Niger's economic and political problems.

Last year his government quashed several army uprisings and mutinies.

The United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, has reacted "with dismay" to the killing and called on Niger's leaders to work for "an early return to peace, stability and constitutional order".

In Context
A few days after the assassination of Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, a military junta headed by Major Daouda Wanke took power.

They pledged to hold civilian elections by the end of the year.

In August 1999 a new constitution was adopted following a referendum which granted an amnesty for those involved in the coup.

In November a former army officer, Tandja Mamadou, was elected president after a close-run election.

On the second anniversary of Ibrahim Bare Mainassara's death in April 2001 more than 2,000 protesters gathered in front of Niger's parliament to demand a full inquiry into his killing.


Search ON THIS DAY by date   
  Go back one day Go forward one day

Front Page |  Years |  Themes |  Witness
^^ Back to top |