President held after bloody coup in Niger

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The Independent Online

Niger's President Mamadou Tandja was detained by mutinous troops yesterday after a coup in the west African nation that left at least three soldiers dead.

Three sources in the Niger military said the coup was led by a soldier named Major Adamou Harouna. "The coup leader has succeeded. It is being led by Major Adamou Harouna," one source said.

The President and the ministers are being detained not far from the presidential palace, the sources added. Earlier in the day plumes of smoke were seen rising from the palace after soldiers attacked the building where Mr Tandja was holding a meeting, leading to several hours of gunfire in the capital, Niamey.

Political tensions have been high in Niger in recent months over Mr Tandja's extension of his rule, which drew widespread criticism and international sanctions. State radio, which had been broadcasting normally, began playing military music.