Niger soldiers declare coup on national TV

Niger Faces Political Turmoil as President Mohamed Bazoum Detained by Military

Niger, a key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militancy in West Africa, is facing political turmoil as President Mohamed Bazoum has been held by troops from the presidential guard since early Wednesday. The situation has raised concerns both within the country and on the international stage.

The coup attempt was announced on television by Col Maj Amadou Abdramane, who stood alongside nine other uniformed soldiers. They declared the dissolution of the constitution, suspension of all institutions, and the closure of the nation’s borders. Col Maj Abdramane stated that the military’s actions were prompted by the deteriorating security situation and poor economic and social governance.

International leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, have offered their support for the release of President Bazoum and condemned the attempt to seize power by force. The situation has also drawn attention to the broader instability in the Sahel region and the rise of jihadist uprisings in neighboring countries like Mali and Burkina Faso.

President Bazoum’s democratically elected government has been a pivotal force in combating Islamist insurgency in Niger. The country is grappling with two Islamist insurgencies—one in the southwest, which spilled over from Mali, and the other in the southeast involving jihadists from northeastern Nigeria. The presence of militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Niger adds to the complexity of the security challenges.

While Niger has experienced previous coups and attempted coups since gaining independence from France in 1960, this recent development poses significant implications for regional stability and international partnerships. President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to expand Russian influence in Africa and the presence of Russian Wagner mercenaries aiding the military regime in Mali have raised concerns among Western powers.

In response to the unfolding crisis, the West African economic bloc Ecowas has condemned the attempt to seize power and dispatched Benin’s President Patrice Talon on a mediation mission to Niger. The regional bloc is calling for the restoration of constitutional order in the country.

As the situation remains fluid, Nigeriens and the international community closely monitor developments in the country. The fate of President Bazoum and the stability of the nation are paramount concerns. The actions of the military junta and its impact on Niger’s security and governance will have far-reaching consequences for the region and beyond.

Niger’s future now hangs in the balance, and the global community awaits the resolution of this political crisis with bated breath, hoping for a peaceful and stable outcome that will uphold democratic principles and safeguard the nation’s progress in combating extremism and fostering prosperity.