Members of the country’s Presidential Guard encircled the president’s palace in Niamey on Wednesday 26 july and held the president Mr. Bazoum hostage. The Col. Amadou Abdrahmane, a spokesman for those who carried out the coup, read out a statement justifying their actions as a response to the deteriorating security situation and bad social and economic governance.
The Niger coup laid its foundations. Thus, the countries of the Sahel region have become hotbeds of coups and anarchy . They have witnessed five military coups in the past three years.
Significant changes are taking place in Africa’s Sahel, especially the severing of relations with the French ally, as a result of discontent against it due to the deterioration of security in Niger, despite the French military presence, which did not achieve any positive results in ensuring stability, defeating the rebels on power and combating the threat of terrorism for more than ten years in Region. In addition , the precedent killing of a group of nigerians manifestants by the French army in November 2021, which led to an escalation of anti-French sentiments in Niger, as well as widespread frustration among the army and people.
Niger has lost the main base through which France moves in the Sahel region after being expelled from neighbors’ countries , Mali and Burkina Faso , by the leaders of the military coup that took place there in recent years.
France also believed that Niger differs from neighbors’ countries, being a stable country in a turbulent region, as it believes that the ousted President Mohammad Bazoum has the ability to polish the image of the West in front of the Nigerian people.
Interesting in this regard, the Niger coup has more popular support than it was in neighbors’ countries, which impedes any possible military intervention by the West African Community “ECOWAS”. Even France, which is greatly affected by the coup, finds it difficult for it to resort to military force against the putschists. The coup will significantly affect the French economy. Niger hosts a French military base and is the world’s seventh biggest producer of uranium. The fuel is vital for nuclear power with a quarter of it going to Europe, especially France.
However , Niger coup may change the regional order in the Sahel. First, there is an alliance that has begun to take shape between Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. The Niger will certainly join it. It is an alliance openly hostile to France and seeks to end of the West , and establish partnerships with Russia. Secondly, this coup could encourage military leaders in the countries of the region to adopt the same approach, especially Nigeria, which suffers from instability and economic decline. Third, the coup could further destabilize a poor country and create an opening for extremists to expand their presence.
Has democracy died in the Sahel region and military models have become the solution?
The biggest challenge for the West , is how to contain the Sahel crises and prevent them from spreading to more countries in West Africa, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and others countries in the region, as well as the popular rejection of the occident presence, especially the French, and the expansion of Russian influence in Africa.
The Sahel region will inevitably see more lawlessness and unrest, as military rule, despite popular support, will not substitute for democratic civilian rule based on representation and free elections.
There must be a political awareness among the people in the countries of the Sahel region to focus on democracy, development, security and stability.