BREAKING: Fresh Worry For Tinubu And ECOWAS As Niger’s Junta Releases New Strategies (DETAILS)
The group of mutinous soldiers responsible for overthrowing the democratically elected President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, have recently unveiled a series of measures aimed at consolidating their control over the country.
These measures are believed to be part of their strategy to fortify their hold on power and counter any potential military intervention by regional leaders seeking to reinstate Bazoum.
Under the leadership of Brig. Gen. Abdrahmane Tchiani, the junta has issued orders to put the Nigerien armed forces on high alert due to perceived threats of aggression against the nation’s territory.
They have also reached out to the military-led governments of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, requesting assistance in defending against potential attacks.
Additionally, the junta set a deadline for the French ambassador to leave the country and organized a rally to garner support for the expulsion of French troops.
In response to these actions, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the French ambassador would remain in Niger. Macron expressed his strong condemnation of the coup leaders while emphasizing that France is not an adversary of Niger. He affirmed the courage of President Mohamed Bazoum and the commitment of French diplomats on the ground who are steadfast despite external pressures.
Seidik Abba, a Nigerien researcher and president of the International Center for Reflection and Studies on the Sahel, explained that the junta’s moves are aimed at strengthening their position and resisting pressure from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reverse the coup. There is a notable risk of conflict between Niger and the regional bloc, with an alignment forming between the junta, Mali, and Burkina Faso in a pro-authoritarian stance.
ECOWAS is determined to reverse the coup in Niger to prevent a chain of coups in West Africa. Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, the bloc’s chairman, expressed frustration with the junta’s apparent attempt to stall after failed negotiations to reinstate Bazoum, who remains detained. Despite ECOWAS’s readiness for various options, including military intervention, Tinubu is holding back the bloc.
Niger, formerly a French colony, held a crucial role in countering jihadi violence in the Sahel region. The severing of ties with France, following a pattern seen after coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, reflects a shifting landscape in the Sahel and signifies changes in the post-colonial state. ECOWAS’s intervention strategy remains undefined, with Mali and Burkina Faso facing internal security issues, and Nigeria’s significant military presence in the bloc. The bloc’s dilemma is compounded by the Niger-Mali-Burkina Faso alliance and its historical reliance on international support for interventions.
The coup leaders in Niger seem determined to retain power in the long term, mirroring a recurring pattern in military regimes that tend to overstay their welcome, noted Nate Allen, an associate professor at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies.