Former Niger president dies

Colonel Daouda Malam Wanke, a military commander who ruled for eight months after a 1999 coup in the West African country of Niger, died on Wednesday of cardiovascular trouble, family members said. He was 58.

Wanke died at his home in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

Wanke had been in poor health for years, suffering from high blood pressure, his family said. He had recently travelled to Libya, Morocco and Switzerland to seek treatment.

Born in 1946 in Yellou, 180km south of the capital, Wanke came to power in April 1999 following the assassination of then-president Ibrahim Mainassara in a coup by Mainassara’s presidential guards.

Wanke led an-eight month transition government before handing over power to Niger’s current President, Mamadou Tandja, who won democratic elections in 1999.

Wanke is survived by a wife and three children. There was no immediate word on plans for memorial services. — Sapa-AP

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