Niger junta names platoon commander as its leader

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 20, 2010 03:08

 
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A junta that seized power in a coup in the West African nation of Niger named a platoon commander as its leader Friday, hours after soldiers announced on state TV that their group was in charge of the uranium-rich country.

Former colonial ruler France and the African Union both condemned Thursday's coup, when armed soldiers stormed the presidential palace in a hail of gunfire during broad daylight and kidnapped the country's strongman leader. The whereabouts of President Mamadou Tandja remained unknown Friday.

The junta, which calls itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, declared it was being led by Salou Djibo, a little known commander of a platoon based near the capital. It also announced the reopening of the country's borders and the lifting of a curfew that had been in effect.

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