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NIGER: Security measures relaxed in Diffa

Niamey, 23 September 2002 (IRIN) - Niger's government has eased back on the tight security measures imposed on the eastern Diffa region after a mutiny by disgruntled soldiers between 31 July and 9 August.

"Peace is now re-established in the region and the government has decided to lift the security measures taken in July and August" a government press release stated on Friday.

The strict security measures in Diffa had been aimed at "facing the situation and creating conditions to restore the state's authority in this area", but were no longer required, the government said.

Civil society organisations including the Association nigerienne de defense des droits de l'homme (ANDDH, or Niger Association for the Defence of Human Rights), had condemned the security measures, announced in a decree by President Mamadou Tandja on 5 August.

Among other things, the presidential decree had prohibited the propagation by any medium of information or allegations that could jeopardise national defence operations.

The uprising in Diffa began on 31 July, with the mutineers taking military and civilian officials hostage. They demanded the dismissal of the chief of army general staff, Colonel Moumouni Boureima.

The government said the "legitimacy of democratic institutions was being questioned" through the mutiny", but declared on 9 August that order had been restored by loyalist troops.

Four officers arrested on suspicion of involvement in the mutiny were reported associates of the late President Ibrahim Bare Mainassara, who was assassinated in April 1999.

Theme (s): Conflict,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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