Somali Magazine – In a significant development, the first of some 1,500 French forces have left Niger after being ordered to do so by the military rulers who seized power in July. This move marks a turning point in Niger’s political landscape, which has been in turmoil since the coup.
The Coup and Its Aftermath
On July 26, 2023, members of the Presidential Guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum at his official residence in Niamey. They announced they had seized power in a coup, citing the West African country’s deteriorating security situation. The coup leaders announced that the country’s borders were closed.
In the aftermath of the coup, a statement posted by the Nigerien army command declared it would back the coup to avoid a “murderous confrontation” that could lead to a “bloodbath”. General Abdourahmane “Omar” Tchiani, commander of the presidential guards, appointed himself head of the country’s new military government.
The international community has been quick to respond to the crisis. The European Union cut off financial support to Niger while the African Union (AU) called on the coup leaders to return to their barracks. The French foreign ministry said France suspended all development aid and budget support with immediate effect, demanding a prompt return to constitutional order with Bazoum back in charge. French development aid for Niger was at approximately 120 million euros ($130m) in 2022, and was expected to be slightly higher this year.
The departure of French forces from Niger marks a significant shift in the country’s political landscape. The French forces were ordered to leave by the military rulers who seized power in July. This move could have far-reaching implications for the security situation in the region, given the ongoing threat of insurgency from groups like the Islamic State and Boko Haram.
The political crisis in Niger continues to evolve, with the departure of French forces marking the latest development. The international community’s response will be crucial in determining the future of the country and the well-being of its people. However, it remains to be seen how the situation will unfold in the coming months. As the country navigates this challenging period, the hope is for a peaceful resolution that upholds the principles of democracy and human rights.