Free Tandja, Niger junta told

2010-11-08 22:22

Abuja - The court of justice of the West African regional body Ecowas ordered Niger's military rulers on Monday to release Mamadou Tandja, the former president who was ousted by the soldiers in a coup earlier this year.

"Apparently (Tandja's) human rights have been violated. This court hereby rules that he should be released," Ecowas Justice Awa Nana Daboya said at a hearing in Abuja, Nigeria.

The court gave no further details. A Niger junta spokesperson in the capital said he could not comment because authorities had yet to be formally notified of the ruling.

Tandja has been held under house arrest since he was toppled in February by soldiers who have since promised to hold elections and return power to civilians in the uranium-exporting nation by April 2011.

"This is satisfying, deeply satisfying for us," Souley Oumarou, the Tandja family's lawyer, told Reuters by telephone on Monday.

"The soldiers have no choice but to abide by the court's decision, which cannot be appealed."


News of the court's decision emerged a week after voters in Niger endorsed a new constitution that is tailored to pave the return to civilian rule.

However, General Salou Djibo's junta is also grappling with internal divisions and last month arrested a number of officers after it said it had foiled a coup attempt.

Tandja's removal was largely welcomed in Niger since he had grown increasingly unpopular after scrapping the previous constitution in order to stay in power after the end of his second term in office.

After the expected initial public condemnations, donors and regional bodies like Ecowas started backing Djibo's junta and the civilian transitional government set up to guide the former French colony to elections.

Over the weekend, Mahamadou Issoufou - a veteran politician who lost to Tandja in elections in 1999 and 2004 and is seen by some as favourite in the coming vote - was confirmed as the PNDS party candidate at the weekend.

"The moment has come, the conditions are right..." Issoufou told a PNDS meeting at the weekend. "I know that I can count on you to turn these conditions into votes at the ballot box.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    ecowas  |  mamadou tandja  |  salou djibo  |  niger  |  west africa publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Debate over Lancaster rages on
Magic mile spurs on Springboks
Boks take ‘no mercy’ approach
Burger to equal Bok RWC record
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.