This article was last updated on July 27, 2023
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Niger Army Chooses Side of Coup Plotters to Keep Peace
The army in Niger has declared its support for the group of soldiers who seized power in a coup on Wednesday. Their decision is based on maintaining stability and avoiding a violent confrontation that could endanger the population. The deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum, is in good health and being held captive by the coup plotters in the presidential palace.
Rallying Behind the Coup Plotters
Initially, the army had stated that it would intervene if the coup plotters did not back down. However, it has now changed its stance and is siding with them to protect the physical safety of President Bazoum and his family. The army fears that a deadly clash could ensue, resulting in casualties and further jeopardizing the security of the population. The chief of staff has issued a statement officially aligning the army with the coup plotters.
Niger’s Fourth Coup Since Independence
This recent coup d’état marks the fourth such incident in Niger since it gained independence in 1960. The African Union, United Nations, European Union, and United States, among others, have strongly condemned the coup attempt. They are demanding the immediate release of President Bazoum, who was democratically elected in April 2021. Niger, with a population of approximately 25 million, grapples with high poverty rates and ongoing jihadist violence.
Prior to President Bazoum assuming office, there was a previous failed attempt to overthrow the government. In March, while on a visit to Turkey, another coup plot was foiled. These recurring coup attempts indicate the fragility of Niger’s political landscape and the challenges it faces in maintaining stability.
As the international community continues to voice its concerns and demands for the restoration of democracy, the situation in Niger remains tense. The borders are closed, and a curfew is in effect throughout the country. The immediate focus is on ensuring the safety and release of President Bazoum.
Protecting Peace and Security
The decision of the Niger army to align with the coup plotters is a controversial one. While it aims to prevent violence and protect the physical well-being of the president, it also raises questions about the military’s role in upholding democratic principles. Maintaining peace and security is essential, but it should be done within the framework of constitutional order and respect for democratic processes.
It remains to be seen how the situation will unfold in Niger. International pressure, coupled with domestic unrest and resistance, may influence the course of events. The army’s intervention could be seen as an attempt to prevent further instability, but it also risks undermining the democratic progress that Niger has made over the years.
Addressing the root causes of poverty, social inequality, and extremist violence is crucial for long-term stability in Niger. Sustained efforts to improve governance, strengthen the economy, and enhance security are necessary to prevent future coup attempts and ensure the well-being of the population.