Sat. May 25th, 2024

Niger coup exposes France, US in West Africa

By ki0nk Mar18,2024

PARIS — The One of the only Western allies in the Sahel region of Africa is in danger of becoming unstable as a result of a military coup that is currently taking place in Niger.

The top military brass of Niger made the announcement on national television on Wednesday night that they had successfully removed Mohamed Bazoum from his position as president of the country. Bazoum had been democratically elected in 2021.

According to Agence France-Presse, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane made the following statement: “We, the Defense and Security Forces, have decided to put an end to the regime you know.” This statement was made by the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland. He went on to say that this was a consequence of the ongoing deterioration of the security situation as well as the bad governance of the economy and society.

It would be detrimental to the Western world, and more notably to France and the United States, which have deep ties to the West African nation of Niger, if the country were to undergo a change of government.

Within the context of the war against Islamist terrorism, Niger is a country that is of strategic importance to both Paris and Washington. One of the few countries in the Sahel region that has not increased its level of collaboration with Russia to the cost of the West, it is also considered to be “one of the most reliable allies of the United States” in the fight against al Qaeda, Islamic State, and Boko Haram.

There are no visible traces of Moscow’s footprint in the Niger coup, which is primarily motivated by internal affairs, according to Le Monde. The coup is primarily driven by internal issues.

On the other hand, the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary organization operated in Africa and commanded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, asserted that they were responsible for the coup attack on Thursday.

In an audio message that was uploaded to a Wagner-branded Telegram channel, Prigozhin stated, “What took place is the struggle of the people of Niger against the colonialists.” It is more accurate to say that this is the process of achieving independence and removing colonialists.
Prigozhin proceeded by saying, “This demonstrates the overall effectiveness of Wagner.” “A thousand Wagner fighters have the ability to restore order and destroy terrorists, thereby preventing them from causing harm to the civilian population of states.”

A photo of Prigozhin shaking hands with an unnamed man was also uploaded by the same station. The shot was taken on the margins of a Russia-Africa meeting that was being hosted in St. Petersburg by President Vladimir Putin. The installations gave the impression that they were intended to be an exhibition of power by Prigozhin, who staged a rebellion the previous month in which his men marched to within three hundred kilometers of Moscow before withdrawing.

Bazoum’s forced departure would be yet another loss for France in the region. This would come just a few months after French troops were forced to withdraw from neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, thus putting an end to the Barkhane campaign.

According to reports, Paris has stationed approximately 1,500 French soldiers in Niger. This comes at a time when Paris’s influence in West Africa has been dramatically diminishing over the past few years. There has been a statement of contentment from the government of Niger over the bilateral military pact.

The nation was expected to serve as a “laboratory” for a new kind of military partnership that would be based on equal-footing collaboration between France, which was a colonial power in the past, and African states.

Overnight, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement in which it expressed “concerns” about the events that took place and said that it “firmly condemns any attempt to seize power by force.” Additionally, the ministry issued a warning letter to French people who are currently residing in Niger, advising them to restrict their activities and adhere to the safety guidelines that were provided.

Overnight, Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the United States of America met with Bazoum and conveyed the “unwavering” support of the United States. According to a statement, “the strong economic and security partnership between the United States and Niger is dependent on the continuation of democratic governance and respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

Given that French President Emmanuel Macron is now on a five-day trip to the Indo-Pacific area with his Armed Forces Minister Sébastien Lecornu and the majority of his staff, the timing of the attempt presents a challenge for France. At this very moment, Blinken is also present in the area.

By ki0nk

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