The 2023 Coup in Niger.
General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the chief of Niger’s powerful presidential guard, took over the leadership of Niger on Friday 28 July 2023, after removing the democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum, in a military coup on 26 July 2023.
Bazoum, who was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power since its independence from France in 1960, is currently held by members of his presidential guard at the presidential palace.
There have been four successful coups and numerous attempted coups since Niger won independence from France in 1960.
General Tchiani is an army veteran who has foiled similar uprisings in this West African nation. Bazoum had recently been considering replacing Tchiani as the head of the presidential guard.
The West African economic bloc ECOWAS, the African Union and others in the international community have condemned the events in Niger and have called on the president to be freed immediately.
The African Union said that it condemns the presidential coup in the strongest terms possible. It also expressed concern over the “alarming resurgence” of military coups in Africa, and asked Niger’s army to “return to their barracks and restore constitutional authority” within 15 days.
The African Union consists of 55 member states that make up the countries on the African continent.
The European Union said it was suspending all aid to Niger with immediate effect after General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself the leader of the country in a coup. The bloc will also stop all security cooperation.
The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said they were ready to support future decisions, including the “adoption of sanctions” taken by West Africa’s main regional bloc ECOWAS, in support of Niger’s democratic leaders.
In Niamey, the capital city of Niger, several hundred people had gathered chanting support for Wagner while waving Russian flags.
African leaders pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, 28 July 2023, to move ahead with their plan to end the Ukraine conflict and to renew a deal crucial to Africa on the safe wartime export of Ukrainian grain, which Moscow tore up last week.
The African plan floated a series of possible steps to defuse the conflict, including a Russian troop pullback, removal of Russian tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus, suspension of an International Criminal Court arrest warrant against Putin and sanctions relief.
Putin’s response was that Ukraine and the West, not Russia, were responsible for the conflict.
The leaders of Mali and Central African Republic, whose governments have relied heavily on the services of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, both expressed gratitude to Putin.
Before the coup, Wagner, which has sent mercenaries around the world in support of Russia’s interests, already had its sights set on Niger, in part because it’s a large producer of uranium.
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