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Scott Stearns

Soldiers Name New Leader in Niger, International Community Opposes Coup

Soldiers in Niger have named a new military leader following Thursday's coup against  President Mamadou Tandja. Squadron chief Salou Djibo leads Niger's new Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. He commands a heavy artillery unit that played a key role in Thursday's attack on the presidential palace. President Tandja was detained while holding a cabinet meeting.

Attempted Coup Underway in Niger's Capital

Witnesses reported heavy gunfire started about midday local time. State radio played traditional music, and made no mention of the coup attempt.  Soldiers and armored vehicles were seen near the palace and nearby streets were deserted.    Official sources in the capital Niamey tell VOA's Hausa Service that people have been taken to the hospital. Government ministers were scheduled to gather at the palace for a meeting about that time.

Guinea's Military Leader Wants Army to Support Transitional Government

Guinea's acting military leader is calling on soldiers to support the country's new transitional government which is meant to organize elections in June. After more than one year of military rule in Guinea, General Sekouba Konate says it is time the army return to its proper function and support civilians working toward new elections. General Konate says the army's mission is to defend the territorial integrity of the nation, to safeguard democracy, and to protect the people. General Konate took power in December when military leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara was shot by the former

Guinea's Injured Military Leader Moves to Burkina Faso

Guinea's injured military leader is in Burkina Faso where he is expected to meet with members of his ruling council, Wednesday.

Guinea's Acting Military Leader Calls for Opposition Prime Minister

Guinea's acting military leader says political parties should immediately choose a new prime minister to help lead the country to free elections.

ECOWAS Leader Calls for Intervention Force in Guinea

The head of West Africa's regional alliance says foreign troops should be sent to Guinea to establish security, following the shooting of the country's military leader.  Talks to resolve Guinea's political crisis resumed Sunday in Burkina Faso. The secretary general of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, says Guinea needs a regional intervention force to prevent further violence. Mohamed Ibn Chambas said the preventative deployment of such a force would ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance and establish a safe environment for the Guinean people.

Al-Qaida Affiliated Groups Claim Responsibility for Kidnappings in West Africa

A terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaida is claiming responsibility for last month's kidnapping of three Spanish aid workers in Mauritania and a Frenchman in Mali.   The Algerian-based group al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb made the kidnapping claim in an audio tape given to the Al Jazeera television network. A man identifying himself as Saleh Abu Mohammad says that France and Spain will be informed later about the kidnappers' demands. Spain says it can not confirm the validity of the claim, but is investigating the report. Three Spanish aid workers were kidnapped November 29 sout

Guinea Military Arrest Human Rights Official

Guinea's military government has arrested a prominent human rights official while United Nations investigators are in the country to find out what happened when more than 150 opposition protestors were killed two months ago.  Soldiers detained human rights leader Mouctar Diallo when he returned to the capital, Conakry, after a visit to his home village. Diallo's wife, Djenabou Diallo, says he was arrested on Thursday by men from the special service against banditry and the fight against drugs.  She says she has been denied permission to see him. Tierno Madjou Sow, President of Guinea'