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Military coup ousts Niger president

The president of Niger, Tandja Mamadou, has been captured and imprisoned by a group of Nigerien soldiers under the name of “Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy” after an attack on the presidential palace late Thursday.

The Nigerien embassy in London has issued a statement saying that both the president and ministers in his company were “safe and well,” although officials said that the company was most likely imprisoned in military barracks outside of Niamy.

According to an announcement by the representative of the group responsible for the coup, a Nigerien Army colonel, the country’s constitution has been suspended and all government institutions have been dissolved. It is not clear who the leader of the coup is, although several military sources said that Major Adamou Harouna of the Nigerien Army was responsible. Read More…

Niger’s ruling party wins majority

According to Niger’s election commission, President Mamadou Tandja’s party won a large majority in the parliament after recent elections held on Tuesday.

76 of 113 total seats were taken by Tandja’s party, and a further 21 seats were taken by smaller parties supportive of the president. Twelve independents also received seats in the parliament. Opposition parties boycotted the ballot after Tandja altered the constitution to allow him to extend his time in office past the limit of ten years, and seek a third term. Read More…

Thousands displaced after heavy flooding in Burkina Faso

According to the United Nations’ humanitarian agency, severe flooding in Burkina Faso has affected over 100,000 people, following the country’s heaviest rainfall for ninety years.

Thousands of homes in the vicinity of Ouagadougou, the country’s capital, have been destroyed by the waters. Officials requested international aid for those affected by the disaster.

“I would like to join the government’s appeal for blankets, clothes and food, because there really is an urgent need for these things,” Ouagadougou’s mayor Simon Compaore said. Read More…

Internet access off in west Africa

SAT-3 cable damage caused internet blackouts in multiple west African countries including Benin, Togo, Niger, and Nigeria. Togo and Niger were “completely offline” and Benin was able to “reroute its net traffic through neighboring countries.”

SAT-3 Map

SAT-3 Map

However, the three nations were able to use alternative satellite links in order to maintain some Internet communication with the rest of the world. Nigeria suffered a 70% loss of bandwidth that caused problems in banking, government and other mobile networks.

President of the Nigeria Internet Group, Lanre Ajayi, said, “[the cable is] a critical national resource because of its importance to the economy and to security.”

Two weeks may pass before the cable is fixed.