April 23, 2024 3:31 pm
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Coup Leaders of Niger Republic Gain Army’s Support and Urge for Tranquility

Coup Leaders in Niger Overthrow Elected Government

Coup leaders in Niger who claim to have overthrown the elected government have won significant support from the army. A call for calm was made after young demonstrators attacked the ruling party headquarters. The president, Mohamed Bazoum, has been confined to his residence by his own presidential guard since Wednesday. Despite the growing condemnation of the coup by African and international organizations, as well as countries like France, Germany, and the United States, Bazoum defiantly stood his ground.

Armed forces chief General Abdou Sidikou Issa has thrown his support behind the coup, saying, “The military command… has decided to subscribe to the declaration made by the Defence and Security Forces… in order to avoid a deadly confrontation.”

Niger, a landlocked and one of the world’s poorest countries, has a history of political instability, with four coups since gaining independence in 1960. The latest coup comes amid a wave of violent jihadist insurgency in the Sahel region, which has triggered coups in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Pro-Coup Demonstrations

Following the coup, Colonel Amadou Abdramane appeared on national television, urging the population to remain calm. However, some young people who supported the coup ransacked the headquarters of President Bazoum’s party, setting vehicles on fire. About 1,000 people, mostly youth, gathered in the capital city of Niamey to support the coup, with several hundred more in the town of Dosso. Some of the demonstrators held Russian flags and chanted anti-French and pro-Russian slogans.

The coup leaders, 10 men in military uniform, made an appearance on television, announcing that they were taking power due to the deteriorating security situation and poor economic and social governance. The Defence and Security Forces decided to put an end to the current regime, suspending all institutions, closing the borders, and imposing a night-time curfew. Party political activity has also been suspended.

Fears of Further Instability

Analysts have raised concerns about the potential for further instability in Niger and the Sahel region as a whole. The coup has also led to the suspension of UN humanitarian operations in Niger. The country has seen a significant increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in recent years.

The international community has expressed its concern and condemnation of the coup. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed alarm at the instability in the Sahel region, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken offered support from the United States. France, Germany, and Russia also called for a peaceful resolution and the restoration of democratic institutions.

Poverty and Jihadism

Mohamed Bazoum, who took office after the first-ever peaceful transition of power in Niger, faces significant challenges. The country struggles with poverty and two jihadist campaigns in different regions. Despite these challenges, Bazoum has vowed to protect the hard-won gains of democracy.

Source: Al Jazeera

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