Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

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Deposed Nigerien president Mohamed Bazoum advised his nation through social media Thursday after being incarcerated in his palace by rebellious troopers that “hard-won features” made within the nation below his rule could be “protected” by democracy-loving patriots.

Nonetheless in a blow for his calls to withstand the coup, the nation’s military stated in a press release that it might assist the coup leaders to forestall bloodshed within the West African nation and protect unity.

“To keep away from a lethal confrontation between the completely different forces which may provoke a massacre and impinge on the safety of the inhabitants,” the military chief of employees stated its army command had “determined to stick to the declaration of the Protection and Safety Forces.”

Troopers in Niger declare president is ousted in coup

Western and regional officers have strongly condemned the ouster of Bazoum, a key ally of the US, France and others within the struggle towards Islamist insurgency within the insecure Sahel area.

Niger is likely one of the few international locations within the coup-plagued space the place the Russian mercenary group Wagner has did not make substantial inroads, nevertheless Russian affect is rising. The coup occurred as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is internet hosting African leaders in St. Petersburg Thursday.

Bazoum was barricaded within the presidential palace within the nation’s capital, Niamey, late Wednesday. In a quick video assertion, Col. Amadou Abdramane, flanked by 9 different army officers, stated they’d toppled Bazoum due to “the deteriorating safety state of affairs” within the West African nation and “dangerous governance.”

They added that the nation’s establishments had been suspended, its borders closed and a curfew applied. In addition they warned towards any overseas intervention, including that Bazoum wouldn’t be harmed within the transition of energy.

Niger’s overseas minister, Hassoumi Massoudou, posted an enchantment on Twitter on Thursday, urging “all democrats and patriots” to defeat what he termed this “perilous journey,” which he stated endangered the nation that’s dwelling to some 27 million folks. “Lengthy reside democracy, lengthy reside Niger,” he stated, calling himself the interim head of presidency whereas the president was being held.

Bazoum’s whereabouts had been unknown Thursday however Massoudou advised France 24 that the deposed president was in “good well being” and nonetheless being held contained in the presidential palace along with his household, referring to him because the “professional chief.”

The coup in Niger is the most recent to hit the impoverished Sahel area in recent times after comparable takeovers in Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad, in addition to in Sudan and Guinea farther afield, and it was instantly condemned internationally.

“We condemn any efforts to grab energy by power,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken advised reporters in a single day from New Zealand, including that he was monitoring developments in Niger “very intently” and had spoken with Bazoum to make “clear that the US resolutely helps him because the democratically elected president, and we name for his rapid launch.”

Blinken stated that it was for legal professionals to find out whether or not the developments in Niger technically represent a coup. “However what it clearly constitutes is an effort to grab energy by power and to disrupt the structure,” he stated.

U.S. Africa Command, which is answerable for American army relations in Africa, additionally stated in a press release that it’ll proceed to “monitor the state of affairs in Niamey” and is working with the State Division.

Amid rising Russian affect within the area, Niger has lengthy been a “most popular companion” and agency ally of the US, which homes a drone base within the nation, stated Ulf Laessing, director of the Regional Sahel Program on the Konrad Adenauer Basis in Mali.

Coup leaders, nevertheless, will most likely now be targeted on “consolidating energy after their putsch” and fewer so on supporting worldwide safety efforts within the area, he added.

“This can have main implications; the Nigerien military was making some progress and in a position to include a bit the regional risk,” he stated. The motives of the leaders stay “unclear,” Laessing stated, however he famous that Bazoum had been “usually well-regarded” within the nation throughout his two years in energy.

Niger’s army and air power have acquired assist and coaching from the US, together with on the Air Power Academy in Colorado and on the Air Warfare School in Alabama, in accordance with a 2021 abstract launched by the U.S. Embassy in Niamey.

Six years in the past, an assault on U.S. troops in Niger made international headlines when militants ambushed U.S. and Nigerien troopers. 4 American troopers had been killed close to the western village of Tongo Tongo.

Landlocked Niger lies between Chad and Mali, and about 800 U.S. troops at a time have been deployed there, Pentagon officers have stated.

The facility seize may result in additional insecurity within the area, which is grappling with violence from Islamist insurgencies within the Lake Chad space and close to Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.

African Union Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat stated in a press release that he “strongly condemned” what he labeled an “tried coup” in Niger. He stated the transfer would “undermine the soundness of democratic and republican establishments” and urged the army to “instantly stop these unacceptable actions.”

Evaluation: African nations aren’t tilting towards Putin’s Russia

U.N. Secretary Normal António Guterres additionally condemned the ouster and stated the state of affairs could be monitored “intently.”

“He condemns within the strongest phrases any effort to grab energy by power and to undermine democratic governance, peace and stability in Niger,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, stated in a press release.

The president of regional powerhouse Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, additionally backed Bazoum, saying regional international locations would defend the constitutional order in Niger.

“All lovers of democracy around the globe won’t tolerate any state of affairs that incapacitates the democratically elected authorities of the nation,” he acknowledged.

The uranium-rich, former French colony has skilled 4 coups since its independence in 1960. Bazoum was elected in a peaceable, democratic vote in 2021 following the 2 phrases of Mahamadou Issoufou.

Rachel Chason, Michael Birnbaum, Paul Schemm and Dan Lamothe contributed to this report.

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