Niger Witnesses First Democratic Transfer of Power Since Independence

Mohamed Bazoum has been sworn in as President Niger. This has had been described as the country’s first democratic transfer of power.

Mohamed Bazoum, Newly sworn in President of Niger IMAGE COPYRIGHT, EPA

Mohamed’s swearing in on Friday comes just days after the government says it thwarted an attempted coup by parts of the military.

The government said security forces arrested several people connected to the coup on Wednesday.

The inauguration marks the first time one elected leader has handed power to another since independence in 1960.

The West African nation is facing increasing attacks by jihadist groups and political tensions in the country since the election in February.

UN’s development rankings for 189 countries describes Niger as the world’s poorest nation. The country has seen four military coups, most recently in 2010.

About Niger’s new president
M Bazoum, 61, a former interior minister, won over half the share of the vote in an election in February.

But Mr Bazoum’s main rival, Mahamane Ousmane, rejected the election result and claimed there was fraud. His supporters have held mass rallies and violence has increased since the election.

Riot policemen driving towards protesters at a makeshift checkpoint in Niamey, Niger

Mr Bazoum succeeds Mahamadou Issoufou, who has stepped down after a decade in power. Last month, the outgoing president was awarded a $5m (£3.6m) leadership prize – which he could only receive if he left office.

Among President Bazoum’s top priorities will be tackling a deadly Islamist insurgency in the west of the country.

Niger has seen an upsurge in suspected jihadist violence, with an estimated 300 people dying this year in attacks.

Last month Niger saw the worst militant attack in its history, when suspected jihadists raided several villages, killing 137 people.

A total of ten people have served as head of state of Niger since independence in 1960

Source BBC

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