In an outrageous turn of events, the military junta that seized power in Niger last week has leveled explosive accusations against former colonial power France. The junta claims that France is hatching plans to launch strikes in an attempt to free the detained president, Mohamed Bazoum, and restore his toppled government.
As tensions escalate, the French Foreign Ministry remains tight-lipped about the accusations, only recognizing Bazoum as the legitimate authority in Niger and prioritizing the safety of its citizens and interests in the country.
The African Union, the U.N., and other powers, including France, have strongly condemned the junta’s move to overthrow Niger’s elected government. This latest military takeover marks the seventh in under three years in West and Central Africa, a region witnessing a shift in alliances, with some countries increasingly turning to Russia for support.
Following the imposition of sanctions by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which also threatened the authorization of force to reinstate President Bazoum, Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby flew to Niger to mediate a potential peaceful solution.
In an unprecedented address on state television, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, one of the coup plotters, accused the ousted government of authorizing France to carry out strikes on the presidency. Allegedly, a statement signed by Bazoum’s foreign minister, Hassoumi Massoudou, acting as prime minister, granted the authorization. However, no concrete evidence was provided to back up this claim.
As tensions escalate, security concerns arise in the region where French and other foreign troops are stationed to combat Islamist militants spreading across the Sahel.
The situation has already resulted in violence, with supporters of the junta burning French flags and attacking the French embassy in Niger’s capital Niamey, leading to clashes with the police.
The junta, led by General Abdourahamane Tiani, the former presidential guard chief, maintains that they ousted Bazoum due to poor governance and dissatisfaction with his handling of the Islamist threat.
Meanwhile, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, has expressed support for the coup, offering his forces to restore order. The Kremlin, however, urges a swift return to constitutional order and expresses serious concern over the situation in Niger.
Germany’s foreign ministry acknowledges the fluidity of the situation and warns of the possibility of the coup’s failure.
As the world closely watches the unfolding events in Niger, the delicate balance of power remains in question, with international implications at stake.
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