Soldiers declare Niger general as head of state following coup

Mutinous soldiers in Niger have declared Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani as the new head of state following a coup, causing international concern about the nation’s fight against jihadists and potential rise of Russian influence in West Africa.

Official Announcement: Mutinous soldiers declared their leader, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, as the new head of state on state television.
* Spokesman Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane stated that the constitution was suspended.
* This follows the detention of President Mohamed Bazoum by members of the presidential guard.

Impact of the Coup: There are international concerns about the effect of this coup on the nation’s fight against jihadists and the potential boost to Russia’s influence in West Africa.
* Niger has been a key partner for the West in the fight against jihadists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group in Africa’s Sahel region.
* The country has been supported by France, the U.S., and other European countries through military aid and joint operations.

International Response: The coup has been widely condemned internationally, and Niger could face potential losses in foreign aid.
* West African regional group ECOWAS has scheduled an emergency summit, and the U.N. Security Council has strongly condemned the coup, calling for an “immediate and unconditional release” of Bazoum.
* If the U.S. designates the takeover as a coup, Niger might lose millions of dollars in military aid and assistance.

Potential Russian Influence: There are concerns about the strengthening of Russia’s influence in Niger, with some citizens already showing support for collaboration with Russia.
* An implication of Russian private military group Wagner’s interest in Niger is a large producer of uranium.
* French President Emmanuel Macron has condemned the coup, stating it is “completely illegitimate and profoundly dangerous.”

Wider Implications: The coup might have a significant impact on international relations and aid provided to the Sahel region.
* U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris stated the substantial cooperation with Niger hinges upon the country’s continued commitment to democratic standards.
* The U.S. and the European Union have provided substantial military assistance and training programs to Niger over the years.

View original article on NPR

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