Niger (MNN) — Niger's junta staged a coup on Thursday, February 18. Former Nigerian president, 71-year-old Mamadou
Tandja, is under house arrest.
In spite of how it looks, this coup may be a step toward
stability. Carl Moeller with Open Doors says it's the third one in 18 months.
"There is hope that this coup led by moderate elements within the
opposition party would actually, in fact, restore a larger degree of democracy
over the long-term."
move to change the constitution allowing
him to remain in office indefinitely sparked wide unrest. Upon his removal, the junta leadership
named an interim president, suspended the old constitution, and made plans to draw up
a new one.
However, the military rulers provided no time frame for a
handover. In the meantime, Niger's main opposition group has thanked Col
Djibo for their intervention and called for free and fair elections.
Open Doors co-workers say calm
has been restored in the capital, Niamey, and that the country's borders have now
been re-opened. They also say they have
been able to continue their work.
Moeller explains, "Niger is dominated by Islam. A tiny
Christian minority exists there, many of whom are Muslim-background believers
living on the fringes of society. That means they're the most marginalized
within any sort of unrest. They're the ones who are going to be impacted the
Open Doors is going forward with meetings planned for the
first week of March. Says Moeller, "We have seminars in places
where Christians are under persecution, designed to help them learn how to deal with it and to be able to stand in the
storm of persecution. Our prayer is that we'll be able to go ahead and hold
2010 will be a strategic year for Open
Doors. They have plans to present four
Islam Awareness seminars to pastors and one presented to youth. Open Doors also plans to sensitize about 3,500
Christians on the realities of persecution while encouraging missions.
Additionally, Open Doors plans to train 40 workers for missionary work in the field.
There will also be socio-economic projects to help persecuted believers get back on
for the Open Doors representative in Niger as he organizes the upcoming
seminar. Pray for God's protection upon him and his family.