Niger is a landlocked, western African country. Historically a gateway between North and sub-Saharan Africa, Niger came under French rule in the late 1890s. After independence from France in 1960, the country was run by a single-party civilian regime, but a combination of devastating drought and accusations of rampant corruption led to a coup in 1974 and the establishment of a military regime. Public pressure to allow multiparty elections resulted in a democratic government in 1993, but political infighting brought the government to a standstill and led to a coup by Col. Ibrahim Bare in 1996. In 1999 Bare was killed in a coup by military officers who promptly restored democratic rule and held elections that brought Tandja to power. As such, Tandja was reelected in 2004. A predominately Tuareg ethnic group emerged in February 2007 -- the Nigerien Movement for Justice (MNJ) -- and attacked several military targets in Niger's northern region throughout 2007 and 2008. Events have since evolved into a fledging insurgency. Niger is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The landlocked economy is heavily dependent on rain-fed subsistence agriculture. The country has some of the world’s largest uranium deposits, the main source of its export earnings.