Key figures in Niger coup

Military commanders who led the coup against President Mamadou Tandja.

    Niamey, Niger's capital, was calm a day after dissident soldiers ousted President
    Mamadou Tandja and suspended the consitution in the West African nation [AFP]

    Below are some facts about the main military figures behind the coup:

     Major Salou Djibo

    Though an accomplished soldier, Niger's new military ruler is little known among residents of Niamey.

    Djibo, 49, received officer training in Bouake, Ivory Coast, and additional training in Marocco and in China, according to military sources.

    He served as a military observer with UN peacekeeping forces in Ivory Coast and also with the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monuc) force in Congo.

    He commanded forces in Niamey at the time of the coup.

    He has five children and is of the Djerma-Songhay ethnicity, the second most populous in Niger after Hausa.

     Colonel Djibril Hamidou

    Colonel Djibril Hamidou is perhaps the best known figure in the coup, dubbed 'Colonel Pele' for his role as president of the Niger Football Federation.

    He was also a key player in the 1999 coup that ousted military leader Colonel Ibrahim Bare Mainassara and paved the way for the vote that led to Mamadou Tandja's rule.

    International observers called the election that followed the 1999 coup generally free and fair.

     Colonel Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna

    Colonel Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna, who became a colonel in October 2009, led the forces that stormed the presidential palace.

    Harouna's younger brother, Captain Djibril, was also involved in the operation.

    The older Harouna heads the Nigerien unit of The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) standby force, comprising 507 soldiers and two armoured divisions, military sources said.

    Like Hamidou, he was also involved in the 1999 coup, having served as the aide-de-camp for the coup leader at the time.

    Harouna had previously served as a batallion commander for Niger's peacekeeping contingent in Ivory Coast.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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