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NIAMEY (Reuters) - A Nigerien court jailed nine soldiers for between five and 15 years on Friday for an attempted coup against President Mahamadou Issoufou two years ago, a court document showed.

In December 2015, the government said it had foiled a coup and arrested people planning to use aerial firepower to seize control of Niger, a largely desert West African nation, a major uranium producer and Western ally against Saharan jihadists.

In the judgement read out by Judge Ibrahim Daoudika, the suspected ringleader, General Salou Souleymane, got 15 years, as did two others. Six co-conspirators received sentences ranging from five to 10 years, and another three accused were acquitted.

Issoufou was elected in 2011, one year after a coup. He was re-elected in February 2016 with 92.5 percent of the vote, after the opposition coalition boycotted the polls.

"This is not what we expected, but the court is sovereign and it judged that they conspired against the state," lawyer Nabara Ycouba told a news conference. "The law does not allow for an appeal. I will discuss with my clients what to do."

(Reporting by Boureima Balima; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Reuters