Thursday, January 10, 2008

Niger journalist killed in mine attack; government blames Tuaregs

I am real late on this. Abdou Mahaman Jeannot, the director of Niger’s first private radio station in Niger has been killed in a landmine explosion just outside the capital

Witnesses said Jeannot ran over the anti-tank device in his car while in Yantala, an upscale suburb of Niamey. A woman traveling with him was seriously injured.

He is the third civilian to die in explosions caused by landmines in the southern part of the country since December.

The government immediately blamed Tuareg rebels for the attack, calling their actions "terrorism."

From the Committee to Protect Journalists:

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion and it is unclear whether the journalist was deliberately targeted, but authorities say they have opened an investigation into the incident. Yantala is a residential area for many high-ranking army officers, a local journalist told CPJ. The explosion took place near an electricity plant that supplies Niamey. This was the first landmine blast near the capital city in recent memory, although many major cities throughout the country have been hit with such explosions since a civil conflict began in February 2007; the government is fighting a rebel group called the Movement for Justice in Niger.

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