News24

Former junta deputy leader freed in Niger

2011-11-11 18:34

Niamey - Authorities in Niger have freed Colonel Abdoulaye Badie, a former deputy junta leader, after two months in detention over an anonymous tract criticising military methods, sources close to him said on Friday.

"Colonel Badie was released on Wednesday... after exactly two months of detention to the day," one of the sources told AFP.

Badie had been arrested on September 9 while he was preparing to take up a new assignment as military attache at the west African country's embassy in Washington.

According to several independent newspapers, Badie and another officer, Lieutenant Colonel Hamadou Djibo, were arrested in connection with a tract circulating in the capital Niamey.

This denounced certain military promotions and "the rehabilitation of soldiers who have been discharged from the ranks and who have skeletons in their closets".

Badie was "freed and nothing has been upheld of the accusations made against him", the source close to him said, adding that the colonel was set to take up his post in Washington "as of Sunday".

The release of Lieutenant-Colonel Djibo, the commander of the officer training academy who was arrested on September 11, "is planned for this Friday," a member of his family told AFP.

In May, the state prosecutor in Niamey requested that suits filed against Badie and three other soldiers in 2010 for an alleged "plot" be thrown out.

All four men, detained in October 2010 and acquitted in May, had been members of the junta known as the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, which in February 2010 overthrew President Mamadou Tandja, who had made himself highly unpopular with measures to cling to power.

Junta chief General Salou Djibo handed over power to an elected civilian president, Mahamadou Issoufou, who was sworn in on April 7.