In the aftermath of the coup in Niger, General Abdourahamane Tiani, also known as Omar Tchiani, has asserted himself as the country’s new leader. He appeared on state TV, Tele Sahel, declaring the formation of the National Council for Safeguarding the Homeland, a military council that he now leads. The coup, which ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, was cited as necessary to protect national security.
President Bazoum’s detention by his security detail was followed by the suspension of all state institutions, leaving the country in turmoil. Niger has been an ally of the West in combating jihadist insurgencies in the Sahel region, with troops from France and the US stationed there.
The international community has reacted with condemnation. French President Emmanuel Macron, along with the West African regional bloc (ECOWAS), called for the release of Bazoum. Macron praised Bazoum’s leadership in implementing essential reforms and investments for the nation and promised support for imposing sanctions on the coup plotters.
Tchiani, who led the presidential guard since 2011, defended the coup as a response to the “deteriorating security situation.” He criticized the government’s failure to offer viable solutions to the crisis and its lack of collaboration with the Mali and Burkina Faso juntas in fighting regional insurgencies.
Niger’s history of political turmoil adds complexity to the current situation. Bazoum was democratically elected in 2021, marking the country’s first peaceful transition of power. However, the former French colony has experienced multiple power grabs since gaining independence in 1960.
The coup has drawn criticism from the international community. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov labeled it an “anti-constitutional act,” joining US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in condemning the “unacceptable” change of power.
As the political crisis unfolds, the world watches closely, hoping for a swift and peaceful resolution in Niger.
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