Niger Soldiers

The President of the West African nation of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum has been detained by troops from the Presidential guard since early Wednesday. This is part of a military coup in Niger, and soldiers recently took to national TV to announce their plans.

Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane of the Niger army was shown in the announcement alongside nine other soldiers in uniform, and spoke saying “We, the defence and security forces… have decided to put an end to the regime you know. This follows the continuing deterioration of the security situation, and poor economic and social governance.”

Instability in Niger has been rampant over recent times, with two insurgent groups spreading violence under the banner of Islam. Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have been known to operate in the region and the government efforts against them have been severely hampered by this political instability. In light of this, under this new military regime, a curfew has been imposed on all citizens from 22:00 to 05:00 local time, and in the announcement it was asked of all external partners not to interfere and the closure of all land and air borders under further notice.

Of course, this has not stopped the West from interfering.

Washington has pledged unwavering support to the captured President of Niger and UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres has also offered the full support of the United Nations. For America and its allies, this is because Niger is a key ally in the region against Islamic militant groups and an important exporter of uranium. However, for France, gaining support from these nations is difficult as it was the former colonizer of a majority of smaller African countries, including Niger, and relations with France heavily influence the national and international political states of these countries.

As for the President himself, his location is unknown for the time being but he said in a statement on Twitter that the “hard-won gains will be safeguarded” and democracy reinstated. The other stakeholder in this conflict is the Russian federation. Putin has long been eager to expand Russian influence in Africa and is thus hosting many leaders of African states in a meeting in St Petersburg on Thursday. Aside from this, many other African countries around Niger like Mali, CAR and Burkina Faso have all decided to align themselves with the once rebelling Russian Wagner mercenary group against any of the Western countries, and the Wagner group has been repeatedly reported to be fighting against the armed jihadist movements.

This is not a good sign for the West, as their influence in Africa expands to economic spheres as well, with certain African countries being very important in international trade. If that power were to go to Russia, it could create a new power dynamic in the international sphere but that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

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