Factbox: Key players in Niger's military junta

Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:51am EST

Related Video

Video

Coup in Niger

Thu, Feb 18 2010

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Niger's capital was calm a day after a military junta led by a mutinous major ousted President Mamadou Tandja and suspended the constitution of the central African uranium producer.

Below are some facts about the main players in the junta that perpetrated the coup:

IN CHARGE: Major Salou Djibo

The junta leader is a soldier who served with United Nations forces in Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of Congo, though he is little known among residents in Niamey.

Djibo is 49 years old and 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 U.N. peacekeeping forces in Ivory Coast and also with the 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 PELE': Colonel Djibril Hamidou

Hamidou is perhaps the best known figure in the junta, 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 strongman Colonel Ibrahim Bare Mainassara and paved the way for the vote that led to Tandja's rule.

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

Hamidou was the commander of forces in Zone 1, Niamey, at the time of the coup.

COUP LEADER: Colonel Abdoulaye Adamou Harouna

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

Harouna is not to be confused with his younger brother, a captain called Djibril, who was also involved in the operation and has read some of the junta announcements.

The older Harouna heads the Nigerien unit of the ECOWAS standby force, which contains 507 soldiers and two armored 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, who previously served as a batallion commander for Niger's peacekeeping contingent in Ivory Coast, was reportedly visited by the head of the ECOWAS standby force in early November.

(Reporting by Abdoulaye Massalatchi, George Fominyen and David Lewis; Writing by Richard Valdmanis)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.