Two men who called on Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou to extend his rule by serving an extra term in office have been charged with “plotting to destroy or change the constitutional system”, reports French-language news site RFI.
During their detention in the southern city of Zinder, Salissou Ibrahim and Issoufou Brah are said to have told investigators: “We are young citizens who have appreciated President Mahamadou Issoufou’s development efforts over the last eight years.”
But the leader of Niger’s ruling PNDS party, Mohamed Bazoum, said the men’s actions were gravely serious:
A third mandate in Niger means a coup d’etat. It is our party’s goal to stabilise this country and make progress.” Mr Salissou and Mr Issoufou’s message is said to have spread rapidly on social media.
Elections are due in Niger in 2021, at which point President Issoufou will have served the maximum of two terms allowed by the constitution. Niger fell victim to a series of coups and political instability following its independence from France in 1960.