(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – A Niger general, Abdourahamane Tiani, appeared on state television as the country’s new leader following a military coup that sparked international condemnation.
Tiani appeared on Télé Sahel with a banner identifying him as “President of the national council for the preservation of the fatherland.”
The appearance comes a day after the West African country’s military endorsed the leaders behind the toppling of President Mohamed Bazoum’s government.
Tiani said in the broadcast that Wednesday’s coup was motivated by both the desire to “preserve our homeland” in a context of a “deteriorating security situation,” and poor economic and social governance.
Niger’s former government, he said, did not give Nigeriens “a glimpse of a real way out of the (security) crisis.”
On Thursday, the Nigerien army command said it was supporting the seizure in a bid to thwart bloodshed. The military’s statement also warned against foreign military intervention, which it said “risks having disastrous and uncontrolled consequences.”
Bazoum was reportedly detained two days ago by members of his own presidential guard.
Niger lies at the heart of Africa’s Sahel region, which has seen numerous power grabs in recent years including in Mali and Burkina Faso.
A key ally of the United States, France and other Western governments, Niger had been one of the few democracies in a region fraught with Islamist insurgencies.
The ongoing situation unfolding in Niger in recent days has prompted swift condemnation from the global community.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday that the coup was “deeply dangerous for Niger and the whole region,” and called for Bazoum’s release.
Macron, who was on an overseas trip to Papua New Guinea Friday and spoke at a press conference alongside the prime minister, described Bazoum as “a courageous leader who is making the reforms and investments that his country needs.”
He added that France – once Niger’s colonial ruler – would support regional organizations should they decide to impose sanctions against the putsch leaders.
He also confirmed that he had spoken with the Nigerien president several times since he was detained.
France’s foreign minister Catherine Colonna said Friday the coup was “not final” and there was “still a way out” of the current crisis for coup leaders if they “listen to the international community.”
Bazoum’s whereabouts unknown
The president’s whereabouts remain unknown, though Macron is one of several global leaders who have said they’ve been in contact with him since he was taken into custody.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke with Bazoum “to express her strong support for the democratically-elected leader,” the spokesperson for the US Mission to the United Nations said.
Bazoum is “feeling well,” Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said after speaking with him, Russian state news agency RIA Novosti reported. Mahamat added that Nigerian mediators are in Niger for talks with rebels.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also said he had spoken with Bazoum “to convey to him all our solidarity.”
Bazoum took office in 2021 in the country’s first democratic transfer of power was following years of military coups. Niger has experienced four takeovers since its independence from France in 1960.
“The hard-won achievements will be safeguarded. All Nigeriens who love democracy and freedom will see to it,” Niger’s presidential office tweeted on Thursday, after the coup was announced late Wednesday night.
A man identified as Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane appeared in the video, flanked by several apparent soldiers, and announced: “We have decided to put an end to the regime that you know.” Abdramane later said all activities of political parties had been suspended “until the new order.”
Source – CNN