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Introduction: Niger became independent from France in 1960 and experienced single-party and military rule until 1991, when Gen. Ali SAIBOU was forced by public pressure to allow multiparty elections, which resulted in a democratic government in 1993. Political infighting brought the government to a standstill and in 1996 led to a coup by Col. Ibrahim BARE. In 1999, BARE was killed in a counter coup by military officers who restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Mamadou TANDJA to power in December of that year. TANDJA was reelected in 2004 and in 2009 spearheaded a constitutional amendment that would allow him to extend his term as...

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History: Considerable evidence indicates that about 600,000 years ago, humans inhabited what has since become the desolate Sahara of northern Niger. Long before the arrival of French influence and control in the area, Niger was an important economic crossroads and the empires of Songhai, Mali, Gao, Kanem, and Bornu, as well as a number of Hausa states, claimed control over portions of the area.

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International Relations: Landlocked and surrounded by seven states, Niger maintains good relations with its neighbours. President Tandja was in 2005 concurrently the Chairman of ECOWAS and UEMOA. The conflict in Cote d'Ivoire has temporarily affected transport costs as new outlets other than the port of Abidjan have had to be used. Niger has a border dispute with Benin, which was referred to the ICJ in 2002. The ICJ issued a final judgement in July 2005. There is also insecurity along the porous borders with Mali, Libya and Algeria where arms trafficking and smuggling are commonplace.

Niger's relations with France, the former colonial power, ...

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