Monday, October 2

According to analysts, the junta in Niger has emerged victorious over the regional bloc’s intimidating military force.

The junta has not yielded to the military intervention, even though there was a deadline for rebel soldiers in Niger to reinstate the country’s ousted president. Analysts suggest that the coup leaders have gained an advantage over the regional group that issued the warning.

ECOWAS deployed soldiers who overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, but warned of military action if they did not release or reinstate him. The bloc also instructed the deployment of a “standby” force to restore constitutional rule in Nego, with Nigeria, Benin, Senegal, and Ivory Coast contributing troops.

The deployment of troops is uncertain, and it may take a few weeks or months before the deployment takes effect, with some observers suggesting that the junta is consolidating power while the bloc decides on the matter.

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Sahel program leader, Ulf Laessing, stated that the putschists have won and will continue to hold their positions.

He stated that ECOWAS would not be involved in military intervention that could lead to Niger’s civil war, and that Western countries would likely advocate for a brief transition period instead.

The recognition of the junta by Europe and the United States is crucial for maintaining security cooperation in the region, as per Laessing.

Many Western countries consider the July 26 coup as a significant setback for Niger, which was one of the last remaining allies in the Sahel region. This allowed them to collaborate with foreign powers to combat an increasing jihadi insurgency linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, according to analysts. The U.S. and France have deployed more than 2,500 military personnel in this area, while other European nations have provided substantial financial support through military aid and training.

The deployment of a “standby” force by ECOWAS was announced, but the outcome was still unclear within days.

The defense chiefs of the region were unable to attend a meeting indefinitely. The African Union is expected to hold another meeting on Monday to discuss Niger’s crisis. However, the Peace and Security Council of that organization could override the decision if it believed that intervention was endangering wider peace and security on the continent.

Nate Allen, an associate professor at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, pointed out that ECOWAS considers the use of force as a last resort due to the delay in the defense chiefs’ meeting on the “standby” force.

He stated that the use of force would necessitate a high level of consensus and coordination, not only within ECOWAS but also within the African Union and the global community, given the potential difficulties.

Nevertheless, those connected to the junta assert that they are getting ready for battle, particularly since the military is not willing to negotiate unless ECOWAS recognizes Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani as the leader who has been ousted from power.

Insa Garba Saidou, a local activist who supports Niger’s new military rulers, stated that the junta is demanding the immediate release of President Bazoum and his reinstatement as head of state. “It is implausible to assume that he will not be elected again,” she said.

Bazoum, along with his wife and son, has been under house arrest since the coup, but there is now growing concern about his safety. According to insiders, he is struggling to find water, electricity, and food. Two Western officials have reported that Niger’s junta warned a top U.S. diplomat that they would kill him if other countries attempted to intervene militarily to restore his power.

The majority of Nigerians are attempting to move on from the ongoing standoff with regional nations and the coup leaders.

The capital, Niamey, has a peaceful atmosphere on the streets, with occasional pockets of pro-junta protests. Security forces quickly put down any demonstrations supporting the Bazcaum regime.

Sunday saw people marching in downtown Niamey, chanting “down with France” and expressing their anger towards ECOWAS.

The situation in Niger is appalling, and we are content with the coup’s success. However, Saidou Issaka, a resident of the country, believes that if the ECWOAS permits individuals to attack the regime, it will be against the norm.

On Friday, hundreds of people, many of whom were waving Russian flags, marched towards France’s military base to request their departure. Mercenaries from the Wagner group, which is linked to Russia, have already operated in several other African nations and are facing human rights charges. The junta requested assistance from these mercenaires during a recent visit to Mali, where the military regime works with Wagner.

Boubacar Adamou, a tailor in the city, claimed to have created at least 50 Russian flags in his time since the coup.

Many Nigerians are unable to attend protests and instead prioritize feeding their families.

The harsh travel and economic sanctions imposed by ECOWAS are having an adverse impact on the country, which has a population of around 25 million and is one of the most impoverished in the world.

According to Moussa Ahmed, a food seller in Niamey, the prices of food items such as cooking oil and rice have increased by 20% since the coup, and there is currently no electricity to power the fridges in his shop. Niger receives up to 90% of its electricity from Nigeria, which has also cut off some of it.

The crisis is expected to worsen the already dire situation, as aid organizations are already struggling to provide support to over 4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The impact on civilians, including humanitarian and protection needs, cannot be exaggerated when military priorities overrun governance, according to Jan Egeland, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s secretary general.

The sanctions and suspensions of development aid are expected to have a significant impact on the living conditions of ‘a country already under strain,’ he said.

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