Supporters of Niger’s coup march, waving Russian flags and denouncing France

Supporters of the recent military coup in Niger marched through the capital, denouncing France and waving Russian flags, reflecting uncertainties about the country’s future alliances.

Understanding the coup: Mutineers violently overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum, claiming he failed to protect Niger from escalating jihadi violence.
* President Bazoum was elected two years ago in what was considered Niger’s first peaceful, democratic transition since gaining independence from France.
* Some Nigeriens and analysts argue that the coup is more about internal power struggles than national security concerns.

Global implications: Signs of Russian influence are clear, while the coup has complicated Niger’s relationship with the West.
* Supporters of the coup were seen chanting the Russian President’s name and waving Russian flags.
* Niger has long been considered a reliable partner for the West, particularly in efforts to combat jihadists in Africa’s Sahel region.
* France has suspended all development and financial aid to Niger until constitutional order is restored, leaving the future of its 1,500 soldiers in the country uncertain.

Looking ahead: The African Union has given Niger’s military junta a 15-day ultimatum to restore the democratically elected government.
* Brig.Gen. Mohamed Toumba, one of the soldiers who ousted Bazoum, has responded defiantly, accusing the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, of planning an “aggression” against Niger.
* The future course of events remains uncertain, as tensions within the military persist and regional and international negotiations continue.

View original article on NPR

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