Amid the political turmoil in Niger, French President Emmanuel Macron demanded the immediate release of the detained Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum, who was taken in a coup orchestrated by Abdourahamane Tchiani, former head of Niger’s presidential guard. Calling for a swift restoration of democracy in the once French-colonized nation, Macron voiced his concerns about the impact on anti-terror operations in West Africa.
The regional body, ECOWAS, has shown a willingness to consider all peaceful means to end the crisis, even going as far as activating a standby force to reestablish Niger’s constitutional order. In the wake of the coup, both France and the European Union halted security and financial collaborations with Niger, and the US hinted at a potential discontinuation of its aid.
Drawing attention to the strategic importance of the region, Macron mentioned operations Serval and Barkhane, emphasizing that without French intervention, countries like Mali and Burkina Faso might have faced existential threats. He indicated that France’s commitment is conditional, and if the fight against terrorism is sidelined, they might withdraw.
In a separate development, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu held discussions with a delegation of Islamic Ulamas, advising them to maintain dialogue with the military junta in Niger. The Nigerian information minister, Muhammed Idris, underlined the importance of continued dialogue for a peaceful resolution, with the backing of ECOWAS. Meanwhile, the UK lauded Nigeria’s peacekeeping initiatives in the region.