Niger sets trial date for suspects in 2015 'coup' bid

Niger's president Mahamadou Issoufou gives a press conference with France's President at the Presidential palace in Niamey on December 23, 2017. Photo: ludovic MARIN / AFP

NIAMEY – The trial of soldiers accused of involvement in a purported bid to overthrow Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou in December 2015 will get under way on January 23, a source said Monday.

Those implicated in the alleged coup include General Souleymane Salou, former chief of staff; Colonel Idi Abdou Dan Haoua, in charge of an air base near the capital Niamey; and Major Nare Maidoka, head of the 1st artillery battalion in Tillaberi.

A military tribunal, meeting in a police camp in Niamey, "agreed to reschedule the trial to January 23 at the request of the defendants' attorneys," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The source was unable to say how many would be going on trial.

READ: Nine Niger military officers detained for alleged coup plot

The allegations date to December 17, 2015, when Issoufou, who at the time was campaigning for a second term in office, said a coup had been thwarted -- an allegation contested by the opposition which demanded proof.

In March 2017 a group of civilians, including political dissidents, were released in connection with the purported coup after being given a "partial dismissal" by a judge, their lawyer said.

AFP

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