Niger profile

  • 23 March 2016
  • From the section Africa

A chronology of key events:

1890 - French occupy Niger.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption President Hamani Diori led Niger for 14 years after independence before being overthrown in a coup

1958 - Niger becomes autonomous republic of the French Community.

1960 - Niger becomes independent; parliament elects Hamani Diori president.

1968-73 - Severe drought devastates Niger's livestock and crop production.

1974 - Hamani Diori overthrown in military coup led by Lt-Col Seyni Kountche.

1987 - Ali Seybou, the armed forces chief of staff, succeeds Kountche who dies of a brain tumour.

1989 - A new constitution brings Niger back to civilian rule, but under a one-party system; Seybou re-elected president.

Ban on parties lifted

1990 - Seybou legalizes opposition parties following a wave of strikes and demonstrations.

1990 - Rebellion by Tuareg people in the north begins.

1991 July - Constitutional conference strips Seybou of his powers and sets up a transitional government under Andre Salifou.

1992 - New constitution allowing multiparty elections ratified.

1993 - Mahamane Ousmane elected president and his coalition, the Alliance of the Forces of Change wins a majority of seats in parliament.

1995 - Ceasefire between the government and the Tuareg's Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Sahara comes into effect.

More coups

1996 January - Ousmane ousted in a coup led by Colonel Ibrahim Mainassara, who bans all political parties.

1996 May - New constitution giving the president increased powers approved in a referendum; ban on political parties lifted.

1996 July - Mainassara wins presidential election.

1997 - The Democratic Renewal Front, a hard-line Tuareg group, signs peace accord with government.

1999 April - Major Daouda Wanke assumes power following the assassination of Mainassara by his bodyguards.

1999 August - New constitution restoring the balance between the legislative and executive branches of power approved in a referendum.

1999 October and November - Mamadou Tandja elected president and his party, the National Movement for the Society in Development, wins majority of seats in parliament.

2001 January - Niger bans hunting in an effort to save its wildlife population, which includes the lion, the giraffe and the hippopotamus.

2002 August - Soldiers mutiny in the east and in the capital and demand the payment of wage arrears and better conditions. The rebellions are put down.

Uranium claim

2003 January - US President George W Bush claims Iraq tried to acquire uranium from Niger for its nuclear programme. Claim also made in UK's September 2002 dossier on Iraq.

2003 March - Nuclear watchdog tells UN that documents relating to Iraq-Niger uranium claim are forged, concludes specific allegations are unfounded.

2004 July - First-ever local elections. Parties backing the president win most of the seats.

2004 December - President Mamadou Tandja wins a second term in office with 65.5% of the vote in a second-round ballot.

2005 March - A planned ceremony at which some 7,000 slaves were to be freed is cancelled after the government claims that slavery does not exist in Niger.

Widespread protests over tax increases of up to 20% on basic goods.

2005 July - UN warns that millions of people face severe malnutrition because of food shortages caused by drought and locust infestations.

International Court of Justice awards Niger most of the river islands along its disputed border with Benin.

2006 June - Unions call a national strike to protest against the high cost of living.

Health and educations ministers are sacked following pressure from donors who allege corruption.

2006 July - Aid agencies warn of dwindling supplies of food. The World Food Programme says it is already feeding 1.5 million people.

2006 October - Government starts expelling Mahamid Arabs to Chad, but shortly afterwards reverses the policy. Many of of the Mahamid crossed into Niger more than 30 years ago to escape drought, famine and fighting.

Tuareg rebellion

2007 August - Government declares alert in the north, giving the army greater powers to fight Tuareg rebels who have staged deadly attacks over the past six months.

2007 December - Two French journalists working for the French-German TV station, Arte, arrested for interviewing Tuareg rebels.

2008 February - The 110 million-year-old fossils of two previously unknown species of flesh-eating dinosaurs are discovered in Niger's desert area.

2008 June - Police arrest former PM Hama Amadou on charges of embezzling state funds.

Constitutional 'coup'

2008 July - Government orders the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to halt all operations, reportedly over suspicions of links to Tuareg rebels.

2009 April - Government and Tuareg rebels of the Movement of Niger People for Justice (MNJ) agree to end hostilities after talks in Libyan capital Tripoli.

2009 May-June - President Mamadou Tandja suspends constitution and assumes emergency powers after Constitutional Court rules against his plans for a referendum on whether to allow him to seek a third term.

2009 August - Much-criticized referendum endorses new constitution which allows President Tandja to rule for three more years and gives him broader powers.

2009 October - Opposition boycotts election to replace parliament that President Tandja dissolved to stop it blocking his constitutional changes. Mr Tandja's supporters win overwhelming victory over independent candidates.

West African regional grouping ECOWAS suspends Niger for having failed to postpone the elections.


2010 February - President Tandja is ousted in a coup and a senior army officer, Col Salou Djibo, named head of a military government. The African Union suspends Niger's membership.

2010 March - Coup leader Col Salou Djibo promises to return Niger to democracy, but sets no date for elections.

Military junta appoints a transitional government headed by a civilian prime minister, Mahamadou Danda.

2010 April - French national Michel Germaneau is seized near border with Mali and Algeria in a kidnapping claimed by Al Qaeda. He is killed after a failed French rescue raid in Mali.

2010 May - Food shortages affecting 7 million people, aid agencies say.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The French-owned uranium mine near Arlit, where several foreigners were kidnapped

2010 September - Seven foreigners, including five French nationals, are kidnapped in the northern uranium mining zone.

2010 October - New constitution designed to restore civilian rule approved in referendum.

2010 December - Environmental group Greenpeace reports large spill of radioactive material from the Somair uranium mine in the north.

2011 January - Two French nationals, kidnapped by suspected al-Qaeda militants, die in a rescue bid involving French troops.

Return to civilian rule

2011 March - Mahamadou Issoufou wins presidential elections and is sworn in the following month.

2011 May - Former President Mamadou Tandja, who was ousted in the 2009 coup, is released from prison after charges of misappropriating public funds are dropped.

2011 July - Five soldiers arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate President Issoufou and take power in a coup.

2011 September - Saadi Gaddafi, son of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, turns up in Niger.

2011 December - Six police chiefs are sacked following fatal clashes between demonstrators and police in Zinder.

2012 February - Thousands cross into Niger to escape fighting in Mali.

2013 May - Suicide bombers stage separate attacks on a military barracks and a French-run uranium mining site in the north. The defence minister says al-Qaeda-linked militants are suspected of carrying out the attacks.

2013 June - Historical city of Agadez awarded World Heritage status by UNESCO.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flags fly at half-mast to during three days of mourning for 92 migrants who perished while trying to make a desert crossing

2013 October - Four men kidnapped from a French-run uranium mine three years previously are released.

Dozens of migrants on their way to Algeria are found dead in the Sahara desert after their vehicles break down. Government pledges to clamp down on people traffickers.

2014 May - Niger and French nuclear energy group Areva agree a new deal for mining uranium, involving an increase in royalties, which critics had said were too low.

Man sentenced following the first ever conviction for slavery in Niger.

2014 July - Niger ranks bottom in the annual UN Development Programme report.

2014 May - A man is sentenced to four years in jail in the first ever conviction for slavery in the country.

2015 January - Ten people die in rioting over the publication of a Prophet Mohammed cartoon by the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

2015 February - Niger agrees to contribute to a regional force to fight Boko Haram militants.

2015 October - Suicide bombers strike the town of Diffa - the latest attack to be attributed to Boko Haram.

2015 November - Opposition leader Hama Amadou is arrested on his return to the country, year after fleeing to avoid child-trafficking charges. He is later approved as a candidate the forthcoming presidential polls.

2016 March - Mahamadou Issoufou is re-elected in a run-off election boycotted by supporters of his opponent, Hama Amadou.