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Niger's Mohamed Bazoum sworn in as president after failed coup

AFRICA
By Reuters | April 3rd 2021
Niger's newly elected president Mohamed Bazoum delivers a speech at his party’s headquarters after the announcement of his election, according to provisional results, in Niamey on February 23, 2021. [AFP]

Mohamed Bazoum said he would make education and security a priority as he took over as president of Niger yesterday, inheriting a state racked by political tension and an Islamist insurgency that has killed more than 300 people this year.

His swearing-in took place two days after the government said it had foiled a coup.

Bazoum's inauguration marks the first democratic transition of power for a country that has seen four military coups since its independence from France in 1960. Outgoing president Mahamadou Issoufou is stepping down after two five-year terms.

Bazoum, 61, was elected in a February run-off poll that was contested by his main opponent Mahamane Ousmane, a former president who was toppled by a military coup in 1996. Ousmane has contended that the vote was marred by fraud.

Niger's top court confirmed Bazoum's victory in March, but the ruling sparked protests in Niamey in which two people were killed.

Taking office in a ceremony attended by several heads of state, Bazoum said the minerals could help Niger reach annual economic growth of 8 per cent in five years.  

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