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Defiance from Niger’s President Amid Military Coup

President Mohamed Bazoum
President Mohamed Bazoum

Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum vowed on Thursday that democracy in the country would remain intact, following his detention by mutinous soldiers who announced a coup d'etat due to the nation's worsening security situation. However, it remained unclear who currently held control over Niger, and the direction the majority of the population may be leaning toward.

An unverified statement, purportedly from the army command, was posted on Twitter supporting the coup to avert a “murderous confrontation” and possible “bloodbath”.

Bazoum, elected in 2021 and the first president in Niger's history to take office following a peaceful democratic transition, appears to maintain the backing of several political parties. Bazoum tweeted his commitment to preserving the country's hard-earned democratic achievements


The Economic Community of West African States has deployed Benin President Patrice Talon to lead mediation efforts, while Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou called on all Nigerien democrats to reject the coup.

West vs. Russia in the Sahel

As a key ally to the West in combating jihadist groups affiliated with al-Qaida and ISIS in Africa’s Sahel region, Bazoum's role is considered crucial. Despite ongoing attacks on civilians and military personnel by extremist groups in Niger, the overall security situation remains less dire than in neighboring countries.

The West and Russia are competing for influence in the region, and Niger is of strategic importance. The West has provided extensive aid to Niger, and American, French, and Italian troops are stationed in the country to assist in training local forces.

However, following Mali's shift away from France and towards the Russian mercenary group Wagner, there is concern that Niger might also pivot away from the West.

Protests and Reactions

A few hundred people gathered in the capital on Thursday, showing support for Wagner and Russia. Conversely, protests in favor of Bazoum were held a day earlier.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated U.S. support for Bazoum as the democratically elected president of Niger. Blinken conveyed his condemnation of the attempted coup and mentioned that the U.S. is in contact with officials in France and Africa.

On Wednesday, members of the presidential guard had detained Bazoum, while a group of mutinous soldiers calling themselves the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country announced the suspension of the constitution, institutions, and border closure.

The international community has largely condemned the attempted takeover. France and the U.N. called for Bazoum’s immediate release, and Russia expressed its hope for a swift resolution to the internal political crisis.

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Jul 27, 2023

According to the news in German TV (ZDF: ) this has impact to the withdraw of the German UN mission in Mali. Because it was planned to use the air port in Niger for this withdraw.

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