Africa
Niger coup: crackdown on coup leaders, travel ban

Niamey

In the African country of Niger, the army claims that they have carried out a coup and they have overthrown the government of President Mohamed Bajoum. West African countries have threatened to use force if the country’s President Mohamed Bazoum is not reinstated within a week, imposing economic and travel sanctions on the leaders of Niger’s military coup on Sunday, according to reports. General Abdurrahman Tiyani, commander of the Presidential Guard, has declared himself leader.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc called for Bazoum to be reinstated within a week at an emergency conference held in Nigeria on Sunday. Along with imposing financial penalties, ECOWAS has also banned all commercial and financial transactions on the block. Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, often comes last in the United Nations’ human index.

On Sunday, thousands of people who supported the military coup expressed anger over French influence in Niger and attacked and ransacked the French embassy, according to a media report. Russia has called for the release of the country’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum from captivity in Niger’s army. Despite the Kremlin’s request, pro-coup protesters chanted the name of Russian President Vladimir Putin. A plaque bearing the name of the embassy was destroyed by some protesters, who later replaced it with Russian and Nigerian flags. The public shouted slogans of France Murdabad, Putin Zindabad and Russia Zindabad.

Police officers in Niger fired tear gas to disperse protesters. People at the scene were seen attempting to light a fire outside the compound of the French embassy. Meanwhile, according to a report, President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced that anyone attacking French persons or facilities in Niger would be met with immediate retaliation from France.

A few days ago, soldiers announced a coup on Niger’s national channel. Colonel Amadou Abdramane appeared on TV with his fellow soldiers and officers. He announced on TV to topple Bajoum’s government. According to foreign reports, the colonel came live on TV and said that due to the deteriorating security system and bad governance in the country, we are ending the President’s rule. Niger’s borders are sealed. Now neither one can go out of the country nor can enter the country from outside. There is a curfew in the whole country. Government officials have been sacked.

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Niger has been subject to frequent military coups, however, political instability has decreased recently. In 2021, Bajoum was elected president in the country’s first democratic transfer of power. ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, on Sunday, demanded Bajoum’s release and reinstatement within a week. The group announced that it would take all necessary measures to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger, including the use of force if the junta remained in power.

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