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Ban closely following developments in Niger after reported coup


18 February - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is closely following developments in Niger, where renegade soldiers reportedly stormed the presidential palace earlier today and the whereabouts of the West African nation's leader remains unclear.

There are press reports that President Mamadou Tandja and his cabinet are being held by soldiers after gun battles in the capital, Niamey.

A statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson stated that the Secretary-General is receiving regular updates on the situation from his Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit.

“It would be recalled that the Secretary-General has called on the stakeholders in Niger to swiftly revert to constitutional order in the settlement of the political crisis that developed in that country last year,” the statement added.

Today's violence reportedly follows the collapse of talks between the Government and the opposition over a recently adopted referendum allowing President Tandja to hold power indefinitely.