Niger’s military announces a coup on national television

The military in Niger, a key U.S. ally in West Africa, has announced a coup, imposing a curfew and closing borders.

Coup announcement: Soldiers in Niger announced the coup on state television, dissolving the country’s constitution and suspending all institutions.
* This move saw the imposition of a curfew and closure of all borders in the country.

US Reaction: Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed U.S. support for Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, who was held hostage by members of the presidential guard for the day.
* Blinken communicated that the U.S.’s partnership with Niger, significant for counter-terrorism efforts in the region, depends on democratic governance and respect for the rule of law.

Historical context: Niger has had a turbulent political history since gaining independence from France in 1960.
* The country has witnessed four coups and several attempted takeovers, including one against President Bazoum.
* Situated in an unstable region, Niger’s neighboring countries like Mali have experienced successive military coups that led to severed Western ties.

The implications: This latest coup in Niger brings to the fore the region’s political instability, where Russia-backed Wagner mercenary group has a significant presence.

View original article on NPR

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