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Junta tightens control in Niger, relaxes security
Convinced it was in charge, the military authorised free movement in and out of the country after it captured President Mamadou Tandja and sacked his government.
"The situation is under control," Colonel Goukoye Abdoulkarim, spokesman of the junta, told journalists.
The army stormed the palace during a cabinet meeting and seized Tandja and detained his ministers before announcing it was suspending a constitution that the 71-year-old forced through with a contested referendum last year. Chronology: Political crisis in Niger
"There is no single voice of dissension in either Niamey or in other parts of the country," Abdoulkarim said.
The junta swung into action late Thursday with a call for support from the 15 million population, promising to make the world's third producer of uranium a beacon of "good democracy and governance" after months of political turmoil.
Calling itself the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy (CSRD), the junta dissolved the government of the poverty-stricken nation, then held its first meeting with senior officials of ministries on Friday morning.
In his first public speech to reporters, junta leader Major Salou Djibo said he would set up a consultative working council to take collective decisions.
The coup has been roundly condemned abroad.
European Union foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton "condemns the seizure of power by a military coup d'etat in Niger and calls upon all actors involved to engage immediately in a democratic process allowing for rapid establishment of the constitutional order in the country." Related article: Mamadou Tandja, ex-soldier who casts shadow over Niger
Former colonial ruler France "condemns the taking of power by non-constitutional means," foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
African Union chief Jean Ping said there should be "zero tolerance" for taking power by force, after coups in the past 15 months in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar.
South African President Jacob Zuma also deplored "the unconstitutional transfer of power."
Two tanks and several trucks mounted with machineguns were stationed Friday around the presidential palace. Pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns were also posted outside the prime minister's office and the foreign ministry.
The junta confirmed it was holding Tandja at a military establishment in the capital.
"Mr Mamadou Tandja is being held in one of the offices in this unit. He is fine, he is doing very well," said an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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