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10 Dec 09:11

About our Niger news

Latest news on Niger, a landlocked country in western Africa, on the southern edge of the Sahara desert. It is bordered by Libya, Chad, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Algeria. It covers a land area of almost 1,270,000 km2 (490,000 sq mi), making it the largest landlocked country in West Africa. The capital is Niamey, located on the Niger River in the southwest of the country.

Niger has a history of political instability and military coups since its independence from France in 1960. It has had seven constitutions and four multiparty elections. The most recent coup occurred on 26 July 2023, when members of the Presidential Guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum inside his palace in Niamey and suspended the constitution. Bazoum was the first elected leader to succeed another in Niger's history, having won the 2021 presidential election with 55.75% of the vote. He was sworn in on April 2, 2021, amid an attempted coup by another military unit that was foiled by loyalist forces.

The leader of the coup is Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani, also known as Omar Tchiani. He is 62 and has been in charge of the Presidential Guard since 2011. He was promoted to the rank of general in 2018 by former president Mahamadou Issoufou He said the coup was carried out because of "deteriorating bad governance" in the country and dissatisfaction with Bazoum's handling of security matters. He declared himself as the new leader of Niger and announced the formation of a National Salvation Council to oversee a transition to democracy.

The coup has sparked global condemnation and regional mediation efforts. The West African bloc ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) have denounced the coup as an "attempted coup d'etat" and called for the immediate release of Bazoum and the restoration of constitutional order. They have also threatened to impose sanctions and use military force if the junta does not comply within seven days. The president of neighbouring Benin, Patrice Talon, has travelled to Niger to mediate after meeting with Nigeria's president and ECOWAS leader Bola Tinubu. The UN Security Council has also expressed its deep concern over the situation and urged all parties to exercise restraint.

The coup has also triggered protests and violence in some parts of Niger. Supporters of the coup have waved Russian flags in the capital while chanting anti-French slogans. They have attacked the French embassy and burned French flags, accusing France of interfering in Niger's affairs and supporting Bazoum. France has been a key ally of Niger in the fight against Islamist insurgents in the Sahel region, hosting a military base and providing troops and equipment. However, some Nigeriens have resented France's influence and accused it of exploiting their uranium resources. France has condemned the coup and called for calm and dialogue.

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