The Niger court ordered, on Wednesday, the release of General Souleymane Salou, former chief of the Army General Staff who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2018 for his involvement in an attempted coup d’état in 2015, the court learned. AFP with a military source.
An Air Force officer, General Souleymane Salou, 70, was a member of the junta that overthrew President Mamadou Tandja in 2010, when he was appointed chief of staff until elections were held in 2011, won by Mahamadou Issoufou.
On December 17, 2015, President Issoufou, who was then seeking a second term, claimed that an attempted coup had been thwarted, justifying the arrest of twelve soldiers, including General Salou, three Customs officials and around ten civilians. In January 2018, a military court sentenced General Salou, his son and eight soldiers to between five and 15 years in prison for their involvement in the coup attempt.
General Salou was sentenced to 15 years in prison, which he has since served in a prison in the interior of the country, after the court found them “guilty of fomenting between November and December 2015 a plot to undermine the authority or security of the State”. At the time of the arrests, the opposition had expressed skepticism about the reality of the coup attempt. Niger has been governed since July 26 by the military, who overthrew civilian President Mohamed Bazoum, who has since been detained at his official residence.
In early September, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, Niger’s regime-appointed Prime Minister, assured that steps would be taken to free “political prisoners” of the deposed regime. In mid-September, former Prime Minister Hama Amadou, an opponent of deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, returned to Niamey after more than two years in France.