As the political crisis in Niger intensifies, the leaders of last week’s coup have reportedly sought assistance from the Russian defense contractor, Wagner Group PMC. General Salifou Moody, a key figure in the junta, allegedly reached out to Wagner for support as the junta faces a deadline to either restore the ousted president to power or face potential military intervention from neighboring countries.
During a visit to Mali, General Moody reportedly met with a Wagner representative, signaling the junta’s interest in securing the contractor’s backing to maintain their grip on power. Wassim Nasr, a senior research fellow at the Soufan Center, confirmed the talks, noting that Wagner is said to be considering the request.
The African neighbors have finalized plans for potential military intervention in Niger if the coup leaders fail to return President Mohamed Bazoum to power by the stated deadline. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened to send troops into Niger, prompting concerns of further escalation in the region.
While the Kremlin has not commented on the junta’s alleged request, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has previously stated that the contracts Wagner signed with African countries are a matter for those governments to decide. Wagner has already established a significant presence in the African security landscape, operating in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Mozambique, and the Central African Republic.
President Franklin Nyamsi of the African Freedom Institute warned that ECOWAS’ potential military intervention could spark a wider conflict involving allies of the junta, such as Mali and Burkina Faso. Such a situation might escalate into a world African war, with warring factions seeking help from global military superpowers.
The situation remains highly precarious, and the involvement of Wagner Group adds complexity to the regional dynamics. As tensions rise, the international community closely watches the developments in Niger, concerned about the implications for regional stability and the possibility of a wider conflict.
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