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Former Nigerien president Mamadou Tandja dies at 82

FORMER Nigerien president Mamadou Tandja died at the age of 82, the government has announced.

The government said Tandja, whose health had deteriorated in recent years, died in the capital Niamey but did not elaborate on the cause of his death.

The government also declared three days of national mourning for the former leader.

Tandja rose to power in November 1999 after winning an election with a vow to restore stability in the country months after a coup had ousted military ruler Ibrahim Bare Mainassara.

The retired army colonel was re-elected in 2004 but his management of a hunger crisis caused by drought and a plague of locusts resulted in public backlash.

He then plunged the country into turmoil in 2009 when he held a referendum that extended his rule by three years claiming that citizens wanted him to stay on to supervise infrastructure projects and plans to exploit uranium and oil deposits.

His actions resulted in international sanctions, and in February 2010 he was overthrown by the military in an attack on the presidential palace.

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Author: CGTN Africa

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