Niger civil society leader arrested by security agencies

A civil society leader in Niger was on Monday night arres ted for questioning by the judicial police in Niamey, as the authorities begin to crack down on opposition to President Mamadou Tandja’s bid for a third term, PANA learned from authorised sources in Niamey.

According to the source, Mr Morou Amadou, who was arrested at about 9pm, is accused of “ploting against state authority, incitement to disobedience of the defence and security forces and trying to demoralise the army”.

He is the coordinator of the United Front for the Safeguard of Democratic Assets (FUSAD) also a founding member of the Front for the Defence of Democracy (FDD).

His arrest has triggered strong reactions of indignation from both within the political class and civil society.

According to opposition leader, Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, the arrest constitutes proof that Niger has ceased being a state of law and he invited all democrats to mobilise to tackle the “authoritarian’ rule of President Tandja.

Mr Moussa Tchangari, another civil society leader, said Mr Amadou’s arrest “is a stage in the framework of the restriction of public freedoms. We are at the beginning of a process of authoritarian rule and we must fear the worst”.

For the moment, members of FDD say they are determined to defend the democratic framework by using all the legal means under the constitution.

President Mamadou Tandja on Monday dissolved the Constitutional Court, so far the only institutional stronghold against his determination to run for a third term.


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