In a surprising turn of events, Niger has been rocked by a military coup led by the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country (CNSP). The coup took place on July 26 when members of the Presidential Guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum, announcing the suspension of the constitution, dissolution of the government, and nationwide curfew. The borders remain closed, with an indefinite curfew in place from 22:00 to 05:00.
While the CNSP has defended the coup as a response to declining security and poor governance, there is speculation that the real motive was to counter Bazoum’s plan to replace the head of the Presidential Guard, Tchiani, a significant figure who served under former president Mahamadou Issoufou (2011-2021). Notably, the Nigerien armed forces have signaled acceptance of the CNSP’s declaration to prevent further military escalation and disunity.
Since the coup, international organizations and foreign governments have been working to mediate the crisis, insisting on a return to constitutional order. High-level delegations, including religious leaders and former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar, are expected to arrive in Niger for negotiations. Major aid partners such as France and the US have suspended funding, while both the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have demanded Bazoum’s release and a restoration of constitutional order.
France, citing protests at its embassy and the ongoing airspace closure, commenced evacuating its nationals and other Europeans on August 1. More evacuation flights are expected in the coming days. Meanwhile, Mali and Burkina Faso have voiced their opposition to potential military intervention in Niger, warning it would be tantamount to a declaration of war.
Despite the turmoil, movement in Niamey is possible, though there is a heightened security presence near key government buildings. The nation’s airspace remains closed, with the current NOTAM set to expire on August 4, and potential reopening targeted for August 6. The communications infrastructure is operational, and there has been no reported disruption.
As the situation continues to evolve, a demonstration supporting the CNSP junta was set for August 3 in Agadez. The international community waits in anticipation as the CNSP grapples with external pressure and internal instability.
– On July 26, a coup led by the CNSP led to the detainment of President Mohamed Bazoum, suspension of the constitution, dissolution of the government, and the implementation of a nationwide curfew.
– The coup is believed to be tied to Bazoum’s plans to replace the head of the Presidential Guard, leading to military acceptance of the CNSP’s takeover to avoid further escalation.
– International mediators are working to restore constitutional order, and major aid partners have suspended funding in response to the coup.
– Despite the ongoing situation, movement in Niamey remains possible, and communications infrastructure is intact.
– France has started evacuating its citizens due to the ongoing airspace closure and protests at its embassy.
– A demonstration supporting the CNSP junta was planned for August 3 in Agadez.
– Further international response awaits the resolution of the coup and the release of President Bazoum.