Niger bans demo for detained ex-PM

Niamey - Authorities in Niger have banned a demonstration in support of former prime minister Hama Amadou, who is being held on corruption charges, his party said on Thursday.

Amadou is chairperson of the ruling National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD), to which President Mamadou Tandja also belongs.

The party's deputy leader Oumarou Dogari said the mayor of Niamey had informed them of the ban, adding that the authorities had forbidden the gathering due on Sunday "over the risk to public order".

"We will not defy the ban but will call an emergency general assembly and submit a new demand (for a demonstration) on Monday," he said.

Amadou has been held in the Koutoukale high security prison since his arrest June 26 for the alleged embezzlement of 100-million CFA (about R2-million) in 2001.

Several thousand demonstrators took to the streets of Niamey last Sunday to call for his release.

Amadou, long seen as the likely successor to Tandja, had been prime minister for more than seven years before losing a surprise censure motion in parliament in May 2007, despite it being dominated by his own party.

Amadou later accused Tandja of trying to remove him from the 2009 presidential elections. Tandja himself is constitutionally barred from contesting, having already served two terms as president. - Sapa-AFP

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