Niger was occupied by France after 1883. It achieved full independence on 3 Aug. 1960. Guerrilla activity by Tuaregs of the Armed Resistance Organization (ORA) seeking local autonomy in the north continued into 1995. On 27 Jan. 1996 the army chief of staff Gen. (then Col.) Barré Maïnassara deposed President Mahamane Ousmane and dissolved parliament. In April 1999 President Maïnassara was assassinated by bodyguards at Niamey airport. A week after the President’s assassination, Daouda Mallam Wanké, leader of the presidential guard and the officer widely suspected of being behind the killing, was named as Maïnassara’s successor. In Aug. 2005 severe food shortages led to more than 2–5m. people facing starvation.
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