"Niger soldiers dramatically oust President Bazoum's government in a historic power shift"
Niger President removed in military coup; international concern grows.
In a surprising turn of events, Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has been forcibly removed from power by a group of soldiers. This announcement was made on national television by Colonel Amadou Abdramane, who was accompanied by nine other officers. Abdramane stated that the defence and security forces had taken this action due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance under Bazoum's regime.
As a result of this military intervention, Niger's borders have been closed, a nationwide curfew has been implemented, and all institutions of the republic have been suspended. The soldiers emphasized that they will ensure Bazoum's safety and well-being, while also warning against any foreign intervention.
Earlier in the day, the presidential guards, led by General Omar Tchiani, had seized control of the presidency, prompting regional leaders to initiate a mediation mission in an attempt to prevent a full-fledged coup. The international community, including the United States, European Union, United Nations, and France, expressed their condemnation of the uprising and expressed concern over the situation.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who had spoken with Bazoum while he was being held in the presidential palace, emphasized that the US's economic and security partnership with Niger relies on the continuation of democratic governance. This highlights the significance of maintaining stability and democratic processes in the region.
It is worth noting that this military takeover is the seventh coup in the West and Central Africa region since 2020, indicating a concerning trend of political instability. Bazoum's election was seen as a milestone for Niger, as it marked the first democratic transition of power in a country that has experienced numerous military coups since gaining independence from France in 1960.
The international community, particularly the United States, has been actively involved in supporting Niger's security efforts. The US has invested approximately $500 million since 2012 to assist Niger in enhancing its security capabilities. Additionally, Germany has announced its participation in a three-year European military mission aimed at bolstering Niger's military strength.
The situation in Niger remains fluid and uncertain, with the future of the country's governance hanging in the balance. The coming days will be crucial in determining the direction Niger takes and the potential implications for the region as a whole.