Twelve soldiers and a civilian have been arrested so far following last month’s failed coup in Niger, Defence Minister Mahamadou Karidjo announced on Wednesday.
Karidjo said officers found guilty will appear before a military tribunal. He noted that four of the suspects had admitted they were planning a coup d’etat on December 18, 2015 . A day the former French colony was to mark its 57th anniversary.
He said another 10 civilians and three customs agents had also been detained while “their possible implication” are being checked. He refused to identify any of the detainees.
Niger’s interior minister in mid December had named several senior figures arrested in connection with the plot, among them are former chief army staff General Soulemane Salou and two top officers.
According to Karidjo, investigators had spoken to jailed opposition figure Hama Amadou about the failed coup. Amadou, a contender in next month’s presidential election, is currently serving time for his alleged role in a baby trafficking scandal.
However, tensions have increased in Niger in the run-up to the February 21 presidential election when five candidates are contesting for the top job, including incumbent Mahamadou Issoufou who was elected in 2011.