On 26 July, a military junta calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, head of Niger’s presidential guard unit, seized power in Niger and arrested the democratically elected President, Mohammed Bazoum. Bazoum is thought to be detained at the presidential palace. A fierce internal power struggle within the coup plotters is ongoing and the population is divided on how it views the legitimacy of the junta.
On 30 July, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) declared that it is prepared to use force to “restore constitutional order” if Bazoum is not reinstated by 06 August.
The airspace and all borders are closed until 06 August, though this date could change as the situation develops.
- The junta has instituted a curfew from 00:00 to 05:00 (local time).
- Public demonstrations have been banned and the constitution has been suspended.
- The African Union, U.S., UN, EU, France, and Niger’s neighbors have refused to recognize coup leader General Tchiani as the legitimate leader of Niger.
- The U.S. Department of State stated that evacuations are not being planned as of yet, but other governments, including the Australian government, have advised their citizens to avoid all demonstrations and important government sites.
- The junta has arrested several people formerly associated with Bazoum’s government over the past two nights.
- Wagner Group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin offered to deploy his troops to Niger if invited.
- Anti-French sentiment is building in Niger and could generalize into broader anti-Western sentiment.
- On 30 July, ECOWAS and the West African Economic and Monetary Union instituted the closure of Niger’s borders, shut down commercial flights in and out of Niger, halted financial transactions, ended aid payments, and froze the junta’s foreign assets. ECOWAS has instituted sanctions similar to those imposed on Mali and Burkina Faso following those countries’ coups. Sanctions and timelines for return to civilian rule have been ineffective in those other countries.
- On 30 July, protesters supporting the coup attacked the French embassy in Niger’s capital Niamey. France has promised consequences for attacks on its citizens. There are roughly 1500 French troops stationed in the country.
- Also on 30 July, Idriss Déby, president of Chad, met with coup leader Tchiani as well as President Bazoum to mediate a resolution to the crisis.
- Global Guardian recommends that all personnel in-country shelter in place and avoid protests.
- Further escalation of violence and the potential for military conflict is possible.
- The unity of Niger’s neighbors, regional organizations, and Western countries, in combination with Chadian president Deby’s quick contact with both the junta and President Bazoum bode well for a resolution.
- However, should the military junta not acquiesce to the demands of ECOWAS, a military intervention cannot be ruled out. Nigeria, which chairs ECOWAS, borders Niger, and commands the most capable military in the region, is under political pressure to restore President Bazoum and prevent further coups in the region.
- Infighting within the Nigerian military would be a flashpoint pointing to an escalation of the crisis.
STANDING BY TO Support
Global Guardian is closely monitoring the situation and can support clients who need assistance with local teams in the area to provide:
- Safe transport and relocation
- Ground intelligence reports
- Ground evacuation coordination
Click below to contact Global Guardian's 24/7 Operations Center or call us directly at +1 (703) 566-9463.