[AFP] Niger’s opposition presidential candidate Hama Amadou was arrested on Saturday on his return from a year in exile over allegations of baby trafficking, a party colleague said.
“He was arrested on alighting from the plane. Police presented him with a warrant issued for his arrest,” said lawmaker Amadou Salah.
The former prime minister and national assembly president fled the country in August last year to escape baby trafficking charges.
According to Salah, after leaving the plane Amadou was led to a car and taken to an unknown destination.
Security forces blocked the route and access to the area as the two-time former premier was driven away.
Late Saturday, Niamey Governor Hamidou Garba confirmed that Amadou had been detained in line with a “correctly executed warrant” and told state television that “Niamey has confronted a rebellious movement comprising Modem supporters.”
Garba added that “defence and security forces have shown their professionalism to avoid matters pointlessly and dangerously spilling over” into unrest.
Earlier, a reporter witnessed clashes between security forces and supporters of Amadou’s Modem party outside the airport.
After sporadic clashes throughout the day, calm returned as night fell around 7pm.
The party’s Niamey headquarters was also cordoned off.