Niger. Former Prime Minister Hama Amadou and two other
leading opposition politicians were arrested in January
accused of planning to assassinate President Ibrahim Baré
Mainassara. They were released on bail but threatened with
Countryaah, demonstrations against the president in April led to
violence that was defeated by security forces. In both
February and May, soldiers revolted against missing wages.
The financially hard-pressed state was in May six months
after paying salaries to the government employees, but
managed to pay the soldiers and thus restore calm.
The 1995 ongoing process of making peace with separatist
guerrillas among the Tuareg and Toubou people was completed
in 1997. The last of 15 rebel movements laid down weapons in
exchange for amnesty and pledged to be included in the army.
In August, the political opposition also quenched its
conflict with the military-dominated government after
promising, among other things. fair access to the state
media and a review of the electoral laws.
In October 1997, Ali Sabo - coordinator of the "Front of
Reconstruction and Defense of Democracy" activities, which
included eight opposition parties - was jailed for hostile
statements against Mainassara. In November 1997, Ibrahim
Hassane was appointed prime minister instead of Cissé. A
month later, a ceasefire agreement was concluded in Algeria
between the government and the Tuareg guerrillas.
In early 1998, Mainassara ordered the detention of
several people from the opposition, including Amadou, under
allegations of conspiracy. The unity party "The National
Movement for the Developing Society" rejected the
allegations and described them as a maneuver to divert the
domestic and foreign public from the government's inability
to solve crucial issues such as hunger, falling wages and
security. Throughout the year there were constant
demonstrations against the government by students, soldiers
and civil servants. In some districts, the Supreme Court
canceled the outcome of the March 1999 election and ruled
out new elections. After a tense week in which the
opposition called on Mainassara to step down, the
Presidential Guard assassinated him on April 4, and the
coup's leader, Daouda Malam Wanke, was appointed President
and Chief of the National Council for Reconciliation to
govern the country for a transitional period of 9 months.
The National Assembly, dominated by members of the Bares
party, was dissolved by Prime Minister Ibrahim Assane
Mayaki, and all political parties were temporarily
The international community put great pressure on the
country to bring it back to democratic states. In October,
the first round of elections was held, and the second round
of elections in November was won by former officer Tandja
Mamadou of MSND. He won very clearly over former Prime
Minister and Spokesman for Parliament, Issoufou Mahamadou.
Mamadou was inaugurated as President on January 1, 2000.
Mamadou's government faced many problems. One of these
was the unbridled hunt for endangered animal species,
including giraffes, hippos and lions. This hunt is
widespread in the northern arid areas of the country. In
February 2001, Environment Minister Issoufou Assoumane
declared that over the past 10 years, a massacre of animals
in the country had taken place, that the government would
intervene in the hunt and restrict the issue of hunting
permits. Another practice that Parliament banned the
following year was female circumcision practiced by some
ethnic groups. According to 1999 studies, 20% of the
country's women are circumcised.
Despite the agreements with the Tuaregans, the violence
continued. In July and August 2003, a series of armed
clashes ensued over the control of the secret trade in oil
and petroleum products in the Niger Delta. The fighting cost