Niger police chiefs sacked after riot deaths

NIAMEY — Six top police chiefs have been sacked in the wake of clashes between demonstrators and police in which two people were killed in Zinder, Niger’s second city, the government announced Saturday.

They include the heads of the police, domestic intelligence and security services, according to a cabinet statement read out on state television.

The statement gave no reason for the dismissals but a security services source said they were linked to the “regrettable events” at Zinder on December 6 and 7.

According to medical and government sources, a woman and a teenager were killed and a dozen other people wounded and admitted to hospital after security forces intervened during the protests.

The clashes took place around a court house where opposition politician Aboubacar Mahamadou was on trial for “preparing protest demonstrations” on November 28 against President Mahamadou Issoufou, who had come to Zinder to open an oil refinery.

Mahamadou was acquitted on Wednesday.

The teenager’s death on Tuesday drew thousands of youths and angry residents out on to the streets, where they sacked public buildings and burned down a police station, according to private radio Anfani.

The woman died of wounds received on Wednesday from a stray bullet that hit her while she was at home, according to media reports.

The government announced an inquiry after the disturbances.

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