April 20, 2024 5:17 am
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Niger President’s Good Health Revealed as Coup Leaders Garner Army Support

Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum Confined by Coup Plotters, Says France’s Foreign Minister

France’s foreign minister Catherine Colonna confirmed on Friday that Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, who is currently detained at his residence by coup plotters, is in “good health”. She also stated that Bazoum had spoken to President Emmanuel Macron that morning. Despite being confined, Bazoum remains confident and stands his ground amidst denunciations of the coup by various African and international organizations.

Details of the Coup in Niger

The elite Presidential Guard has blocked off access to President Bazoum’s residence and offices since Wednesday. France, the former colonial power, has expressed that it does not consider the coup to be final. Colonna mentioned that there are “ways out” for the coup plotters if they choose to heed the international community’s condemnation of Bazoum’s ouster.

The Situation in Sahel Region

Bazoum, at 63 years old, is one of the few elected and pro-Western leaders remaining in the turbulent Sahel region of Africa. This region has been plagued by a jihadist insurgency, leading to coups in Mali and Burkina Faso as well. These coups have resulted in the expulsion of French troops, and in Mali, the ruling military has established a close alliance with Russia.

Coup Leader’s Appeal for Calm

Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the leader of the coup, appeared on national television on Thursday, calling for the population to remain calm. While some pro-coup demonstrations took place, with protesters demanding a change similar to that of Mali and Burkina Faso, the situation remains tense.

Concern for Niger’s Stability

The latest coup attempt in Niger raises concerns about further instability and a “risk of disengagement” on the security front. Experts believe that the coup was fueled by the fragile nature of Bazoum’s election, which had been contested by the opposition. Additionally, the country’s poverty levels and ongoing jihadist campaigns in the southwest and southeast have contributed to the underlying tensions.

International Response

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demanded the immediate release of President Bazoum and reaffirmed his legitimacy. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed alarm at the instability in the Sahel region and the ongoing extremism. Humanitarian operations by the UN have been suspended in Niger following the coup. Various nations, including the United States and Russia, have appealed for the release of President Bazoum and a peaceful dialogue to resolve the crisis.

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