UNITED NATIONS, April 9 -- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says he has 'learned with dismay of the assassination this morning of President Ibrahim Mainassara Bare' ('Mah-IHN-ah-sah-rah Bah-RAY') of Niger ('NEE-zhehr).' In a statement read out at U.N. headquarters in New York by spokesman Fred Eckhard, Annan, while on a European visit, reiterated his 'condemnation of such terrorist acts and any attempt to change the government of any country by force or by other unconstitutional means.'
Said Eckhard, 'He calls on all political, military and civil society leaders to make every effort to avert violence in the country, and to work for an early return to peace, stability and constitutional order.' He said Annan 'conveys his condolences to the family of the late president.' The President of the Security Council for April, French Ambassador Alain Dejammet, said the 15 members of the panel 'concur with the views which have been expressed by the secretary-general...on the news of the assassination of President Bare' of Niger.' A former army commander, Bare' was elected President in July 1996 and the nation has suffered a poor economy and mounting public protests. Radio France Internationale (RFI) quoted a source in the Niger capital Niamey as saying that Bare' was killed at the airport trying to flee a coup. Earlier, reports from Niamey indicated that tanks had been deployed on the streets of the capital and were blocking the entrance of the Presidential Palace and other main government headquarters, including the interior and defense ministries as well as the airport. State-run radio stopped broadcasting and all telephone links were cut off. ---
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