Niamey: Dozens of opposition members have been arrested in Niger suspected of plotting a "military coup" in the west African nation, Interior Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou said Saturday.
Close to 40 allies of parliament speaker Hama Amadou were detained this week for allegedly planning "a campaign of terror", Massaoudou told AFP, charging that some were found with petrol bombs in their possession.
"They have been calling for violence for months," he said. "Our action is against people whose goal is to destroy democratic institutions."
There has been a series of attacks in recent days between competing parties in the capital Niamey.
The arrests follow a gun attack on the home of a ruling party lawmaker earlier this week and a petrol bomb attack on the party`s headquarters in which three people were injured, one severely.
No one was injured in the attack on the lawmaker`s home and two men were arrested in connection with the bomb attack, police said in a statement.
Earlier this week, police had said speaker Amadou`s son, a former minister, was arrested along with two relatives reportedly in connection with the attack on a ruling party member`s home.
Niger also experienced a spate of student riots this week that left at least 10 injured.
Police used tear gas against hundreds of students angry at delays in the payment of their grants, and armed with stones and hunks of wood.