Friday, September 22

The French base is being targeted by Niger’s coup-supporters who protest, while a regional force investigates potential intervention.

On Friday, hundreds of pro-coup demonstrators marched in front of a French army base in Niamey, Niger, as West Africa’s regional organization made progress towards reestablishing civilian control.

On Thursday, ECOWAS mandated the deployment of a standby force, which comes two weeks after President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown in the seventh coup in West and Central Africa in three years by generals.

The proposed operation has sparked the possibility of intensifying tensions in an area of strategic importance where Western nations have lost their influence during recent coups and where Russian power seems to be expanding.

The French embassy in Paris was attacked by protesters in the aftermath of Francocratic France’s coups in neighbouring countries like Mali and Burkina Faso.

Despite the peaceful nature of Friday’s protest, its message was evident.

A sign was unveiled by a protestor, which read “Romez be there” and proceeded to say “Down with France… Down with ECOWAS”.

Following the July 26 coup, a large number of Nigerians have participated in rallies organized by the junta to support the generals, denouncing Western powers and praising Russia, mirroring the protests that took place in Mali and Burkina Faso after coups between 2022 and 2020.

“I am here to request the French forces to depart,” protester Salamatou Hima declared on Friday. “We have the freedom to demand what is good for our country.”


The West African nations have started preparing to deploy forces for possible reversal of the coup, with regional army leaders scheduled to meet in the near future.

The standby force’s gathering time, size, and potential invasion were still uncertain.

The Russian foreign ministry expressed solidarity with the ECOWAS mediation efforts but cautioned against military involvement.

The statement expressed the view that any military intervention to address the crisis in Niger could result in a prolonged conflict in Africa and significantly destabilize the Sahara-Sahel region.

ECOWAS expressed its willingness to consider all options and maintained its hope for a peaceful resolution to the Niger crisis.

The gathering of an ECOWAS force may take weeks or more, according to security analysts, leaving negotiations unfinished.

Ivory Coast is the sole nation to have disclosed the quantity of soldiers it will dispatch. President Alassane Ouattara pledged a battalion of 850 on Thursday.

On Friday, Benin and Sierra Leone announced their plans to contribute troops, but they did not disclose the number. Senegal also stated that it would send troops if there was an intervention last week.

Nigeria, a rotating presidency in the ECOWAS region, is one of the few countries that have not made any statement.

Reuters was informed by Gambia and Liberian states on Friday that they had not yet reached a decision.

The military governments of Mali and Burkina Faso, both belonging to ECOWAS, have pledged to protect the junta in Niger.

Despite the military leaders’ refusal to respond to ECOWAS’ decision, they have rejected repeated requests for dialogue from the international community and established a new government just before the upcoming AU$100 billion summit.

On Friday, an opposition group formed within the political organization backed ECOWAS’ military response and declared its willingness to assist.

France expressed its agreement with all the conclusions of the ECOWAS summit, but refrained from offering any specific assistance for a potential intervention.


The African Union, the European Union and the United States were all expressing increasing concern about Bazoum’s detention conditions.

Volker Turk, the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights, stated on Friday that the conditions were “slowly deteriorating” and could potentially infringe international human rights law.

According to Human Rights Watch, Bazoum stated this week that his family’s treatment in custody was “inhuman and cruel”.

Bazoum told HRW that their son was seriously ill and needed to see a doctor because of his serious heart condition.

The junta was being kept in appalling conditions to force Bazoum to sign a resignation letter, as reported by his daughter Zazia Bezoum, who is currently in France, to do so. Reuters was unable to confirm the details of his detention without any indication from her.

Despite being one of the world’s poorest nations and supporting Western forces in fighting Islamist militants in the Sahel, the coup in Niger, which was initially provoked by internal politics, has far-reaching consequences.

The presence of U.S., French, German, and Italian troops in Niger is part of a larger mission to combat al Qaeda and Islamic State local affiliates who have caused the deaths of thousands and displacement of millions across the Sahel.

The story has been sourced from a wire agency feed and remains unchanged.

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