Niger. An old conflict with the Tuaregic minority in the north caught fire at the beginning of the year. The Tuaregs believe that the government has failed to fulfill the promises of work and political influence given in a peace agreement that in 1995 set the stage for an armed uprising. A guerrilla called the Nigerian Justice Movement (MNJ) conducted a series of attacks on military posts, power plants, fuel depots, airfields and mines during the year. At least some 40 army soldiers were killed and several were captured by the guerrillas. The army sent about 4,000 soldiers to reinforce the area around the city of Agadez.
- According to abbreviationfinder: NG is the 2-letter acronym for the country of Niger.
According to CountryAAH, Niamey is the capital city of Niger. The resumed guerrilla war coincided with new attempts by the government to increase uranium production. One Chinese company was awarded a contract for the extraction of uranium and a total of seven companies from Canada, the United Kingdom and India were granted exploration permits in the Tuaregically dominated desert areas. The MNJ declared all mining contracts “invalid” and threatened to sabotage all uranium mining. At the same time as the guerrillas demanded a specified number of state and military records for Tuaregs, it also sought an independent investigation of the radioactive radiation around the mines.
The situation in the north became so serious that MSF could not continue its operations there. Domestic newspapers reporting the unrest were given sharp warnings by the authorities and a local newspaper in Agadez was suspended for three months for “demoralizing” the soldiers through their writings.
After a vote of no confidence in Parliament, the government was forced to step down in June. The opposition felt that the entire government was involved in a corruption scandal that sacked two ministers in 2006. Seyni Oumarou, who held several previous ministerial posts, was commissioned to form a new government.
History. – After an attempted coup d’etat in March 1976, the military regime of S. Kountché launched a policy of national reconciliation, with the gradual release of political prisoners including, in 1980, the former president H. Diori (who however remained in the house arrest until 1984) and the leader of the Sawaba party, D. Bakary, who had been arrested in 1975. The entry of Libyan troops into Chad in 1980 cooled relations with Tripoli, inducing Niamey, who feared the spread of the destabilization process (Gaddafi relied on discontent of the Nigerian Tuareg), to forge ties with the conservative Arab states and with Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. The plans for a return to a constitutional form of government, drawn up in 1982, did not translate into a real extension of the consultative process on a democratic basis: the new constituent assembly (CND, Conseil National de Développement) was in fact made up of members appointed by the top and the role of the military was confirmed, although the office of prime minister was entrusted to a civilian, O. Mamane. On 6 October 1983, senior military officials unsuccessfully attempted a coup. After the repression and purges at the summit, Kountché entrusted the office of prime minister to a Tuareg military man, H. Algabid, however leaving Mamane at the head of the CND and announcing the preparation of a “ national charter ” with the new constitutional principles.
In the two-year period 1984-85, the country had to face a period of particularly severe drought, during which relations with the United States intensified, which became Niger’s main donor country. In May 1985, a clash with the Libyans in Tchin Tabaraden, in the north-east of the country, was followed by measures aimed at targeting the Tuareg dissidence (expulsion of non-Nigerian Tuareg), accused of connections with Tripoli, and a general political tightening (new arrest di Diori until April 1987). In June 1987 a popular referendum approved the ” national charter ” which seemed to open the way to more democratic forms, through (non-elected) consultative bodies. In November Kountché died in Paris and was succeeded by a cousin, colonel (later brigadier) A. Saibou. While declaring full continuity with his predecessor and confirming the central role of the army in the management of power, Saibou showed a certain availability towards the opposition. He received Diori and Bakary, appealed to the exiles to return to the country and decreed an amnesty. At the beginning of 1988 student demonstrations against cuts in education spending forced the government to compromise: in July Mamane was again appointed prime minister and the CND was charged with drafting a new constitution, while shortly afterwards the ban was lifted. on political parties in force since 1974. The constitution was first approved by the council of ministers in January 1989 and later by a popular referendum (September). In December Saibou himself was confirmed as president of the Republic and, after the legislative elections with a single list held in December, it proclaimed the Second Republic. The president’s unwillingness to any democratic opening aroused violent protests in the first half of 1990, especially by students, while the trade unions proclaimed a series of strikes against the austerity measures launched by the government. Demonstrations and strikes were severely repressed, but the opposition grew and forced Saibou to recognize the freedom of political organization and to convene a National Conference to manage the transition to democracy. The conference, which began its work in July 1991, immediately suspended the constitution and appointed a provisional government under the leadership of A. Cheiffou, leaving Saibou to the presidency, but without de facto powers. The military was deprived of any political office. A new constitution was approved in December 1992, while the legislative elections took place in February 1993 and the presidential ones in February-March. On April 16 M. Ousmane, winner of the latter, was officially proclaimed president of the Republic.