Former Niger President Tandja Dies Aged 82

Former Nigerien President, Mamadou Tandja has died at the age of 8.

His death was announced on radio and national television by the West African country’s government, with a three-day national mourning declared.

Tandja twice won the Presidential election when Niger returned to civilian rule in 1999. He was however toppled in 2009, after he changed the nation’s constitution to fulfil his term elongation.

A retired Colonel in the Niger Army, he was first elected in 1999 after the government of Baba Mainasara was toppled. Despite an uneventful first term, he won his re-election in 2004, amid criticism from the opposition.

Tandja walked a lonely path when he attempted to extend his term through a referendum. He claimed Nigeriens loved his government and wanted him to finish what he started.

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In 2010, he was kicked out of the Presidential Palace in a dramatic toppling that gained global attention. He was arrested afterwards but later released peacefully, and since remained in relative obscurity before his demise.

Mamadou Issoufou, Niger’s current President has mourned his predecessor, even as he promises to leave office at the expiration of his term.

This commitment has been hailed by citizens, who hitherto compared him with Ivory Coast’s Allassane Ouattara and Guinea’s Alpha Conde, whose third term ambitions have triggered conflicts in their countries.

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