Dangerous Turn Of Events As Countries Declare Support For Niger Coup, Soldiers Begin Arrest Of Politicians
In a concerning development, the military-led governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea have expressed their backing for the coup in Niger.
In a joint statement on Monday, Burkina Faso and Mali warned that any military intervention against Niamey would be treated as a declaration of war against their nations. They cautioned that such an action could lead to disastrous consequences and destabilize the entire region. The warning was broadcast on their national media outlets following ECOWAS’s threat to use force to restore Niger’s deposed President Mohamed Bazoum if the coup plotters did not comply within seven days.
Both Burkina Faso and Mali expressed their solidarity with the people of Niger, acknowledging their decision to take control of their destiny and sovereignty. They rejected the imposed sanctions on Niger, considering them illegal, illegitimate, and inhumane, and stated that they would not apply them.
In Guinea, the National Committee of the Rally for Development (CNRD) expressed strong support for the people of Niger, highlighting the importance of Pan-African values dear to Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya, the country’s Head of State. Guinea dissociated itself from the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS.
Meanwhile, the coup leaders in Niger have arrested several top officials of the toppled government, including the mines minister, oil minister, and head of the ruling party, as well as the interior minister, transport minister, and a former defense minister. The coup leaders cited poor governance and dissatisfaction with President Mohamed Bazoum’s handling of security threats from al-Qaeda and ISIL-linked groups as their reasons for overthrowing him.
France Evacuates Citizens
On Tuesday, the French government announced the initiation of the evacuation process for its citizens and other European nationals from Niger. The decision was prompted by the situation in Niamey, where violence occurred against the French embassy, and the closure of airspace, leaving French citizens with no means to leave the country on their own. The evacuation operation is scheduled to begin on the same day.
In response to the events, France took further measures, suspending all development aid and budget support to Niger immediately. They also called for a prompt return to constitutional order under President Bazoum, who was elected by the people of Niger.
The statement from the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs did not explicitly mention whether the 1,500 French soldiers stationed in Niger will also be leaving.
During the unrest in Niger, dozens of coup apologists and protesters attacked the French embassy, expressing their discontent with France and waving Russia’s flag. The army intervened to disperse the protesters after they set a door at the embassy on fire.
It’s worth noting that in recent years, some Francophone African countries have shown resentment towards France, their former colonial power. Some of these countries have even severed ties with France and expelled French diplomats from their territories.
In Niger, some citizens supporting the coup took to the streets, denouncing France while waving Russia’s flag. The involvement of Russia in Niger remains unclear, but it has become a recurring pattern in West Africa, especially during coup situations, to witness the waving of the former Soviet Union’s flag.
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