Niger Coup Leader Tightens Grip


Niger’s Political Crisis Deepens as Coup Leader Tightens Grip – International Tensions Rise

In a dramatic turn of events, Niger is facing a deepening political crisis, with General Abdourahmane Tchiani, also known as Omar Tchiani, seizing power in a coup and declaring himself the new leader of the country. The coup, which began last week with the capture of President Mohamed Bazoum by the presidential guards unit led by Gen Tchiani, has shattered Niger’s hopes for a peaceful and democratic transition.

The West African regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has responded with strong measures, imposing financial and trade sanctions on Niger and threatening the possible use of force if President Bazoum is not reinstated by the set deadline. The situation has escalated tensions in the region and garnered international attention.

Notably, Nigeria, a neighboring country with a historically cordial relationship, has been involved in the unfolding events. Six days before the end of his tenure, former President of Nigeria, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), boasted about his close ties with Niger, expressing confidence that Niger would come to his aid if Nigerians made the country difficult for him to live in after the handover ceremony.

Nigeria’s involvement with Niger has not been limited to political statements. Under President Buhari’s administration, Nigeria approved the purchase and donation of vehicles worth N1.4 billion to Niger Republic to address its security concerns. This support aimed to enhance Niger’s capacity to protect its country, especially in the face of a regional Islamist insurgency that has been devastating the Sahel region since 2012.

However, international reactions to the coup in Niger have been mixed. The World Bank announced the suspension of funds, except those meant for private sector partnerships, in response to the overthrow of the democratically elected government. Many countries have also urged their citizens to leave Niger, and the United States ordered a partial evacuation of its embassy in the country.

Meanwhile, the situation has sparked protests within Niger itself. Thousands of people have taken to the streets of the capital, Niamey, to show support for the coup, condemning the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and demanding the departure of foreign troops. Some protesters have displayed anti-French sentiments, while others have shown support for Russia. However, not everyone in Niger supports the coup, with concerns raised about its implications for democracy and regional stability.

The situation remains highly fluid, and as ECOWAS leaders discuss possible responses and mediation efforts, the international community is closely monitoring the developments in Niger. The fragile country faces multiple challenges, including security threats, economic difficulties, and political uncertainty, making the resolution of the crisis a matter of significant concern for the entire region.

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