Niger: Behind the scenes at a coup

Christophe Boisbouvier in Jeune Afrique was a veritable "Roman de cle", detailing how the February 18 Coup happened behind the scenes, according to his inside sources. I haven't the room to detail every revelation, but here are some of the top.

Tandja cut the pay and dismisses 37 members of the Presidential Guard in February. When the attack came, it was only elements of this FNIS unit that resisted, while others helped the attackers. He had delivered regular bribes (as detailed in a previous piece by Boisbouvier) to the Joint chiefs of 30 000 to 76 000 euros, but nothing for anyone else. He even made large payments to the former Tuareg rebel leaders to assure their peace deal. The coup was finalized at a 10AM meeting at the Supply Camp run by Djibo, along with a Captain Sirfi of the Air Corps who had contacts in the FNIS unit guarding Tandja. Pele and other top officers were not present at the coup, and the President and Ministers were quickly captured, but allowed their phones.

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