The President of Niger, Lieutenant-Colonel Seyni Kountche, led his country's Moslems in a mass prayer - marking the end of the Moslem fasting month of Ramadan - in the capital, Niamey, on Thursday (17 October).
GV Crowds waiting for the arrival of the chief of state Lieutenant Colonel Kountche
GV Chief of State arrives by car
SV Chief of State is welcomed by officials
SV PAN from national flag to crowds sitting during prayer ZOOM TO Chief of State
SV Religious leader reciting the Koan
GV Ministers and crowd kneeling during prayers (2 shots)
CU Chief of State and other ministers
GV PAN Chief of State into car and departs.
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Background: The President of Niger, Lieutenant-Colonel Seyni Kountche, led his country's Moslems in a mass prayer - marking the end of the Moslem fasting month of Ramadan - in the capital, Niamey, on Thursday (17 October).
Thousands of Moslems attended the prayers held in open air under the leadership of their "liman" or religious chief.
It was estimated that the occasion was celebrated by 85 per cent of the country's population of 4.2 million. There are, several Moslem groups in Niger, and the most influential ones are Tijaniyya, the Senoussi and the Hamallists.
Mass prayers are held usually at the beginning of the Id Al-Fitr celebrations. It is observed by Moslems throughout the world after Ramadan, a holy month on the lunar calender when Moslems obstain from drinking and eating between dusk and dawn.
SYNOPSIS: The capital of Niger -- Niamey -- where thousands of Moslems gathered in an open ground for prayers marking the end of the fasting month, Ramadan. President Kountche attended the prayers and he was received by Moslem officials.
Thousands of Moslems in the country attended open-air services like this one on Thursday to start the Id Al-Fitr celebrations after Ramadan. The festival is celebrated by about eighty-five per cent of Niger's population of four point two millions.
Niger's Moslems are, however, divided into groups - the most influential ones are the Senoussi, the Hamallists and Tijaniyya.
But all Moslems observe Ramadan - a holy month - in the lunar calender and abstain from food and drink between dawn and dusk. At the end of the fasting month, they have three days of celebrations and feasting.