The military junta that seized power in Niger last week has escalated tensions by detaining senior politicians on Monday, disregarding international demands for the restoration of democratic rule. President Mohamed Bazoum’s overthrow has sent shockwaves through West Africa, fracturing the nation’s alliances with former Western allies and drawing contrasting support from regional military rulers, including Russia and other junta leaders.
The situation has triggered widespread condemnation from influential bodies like the African Union, the United Nations, and the European Union. The rapid succession of military takeovers in West and Central Africa, now the seventh in less than three years, poses a grave threat to democratic progress in one of the world’s most impoverished regions.
In response to the coup, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has implemented sanctions, freezing all financial transactions and national assets. ECOWAS even signaled the potential authorization of force to reinstate President Bazoum, who remains confined in his palace.
Surprisingly, neighboring nations Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea have expressed their support for the coup’s leaders. In a joint statement broadcasted on national channels, Mali and Burkina Faso firmly warned against any military intervention in Niger, stating it would be perceived as a declaration of war against their respective countries.
Adding to the turmoil, the junta in Niger apprehended prominent figures, including the ousted government’s mines minister, the head of the ruling party, and the oil minister.
Amidst the chaos, a United States official claimed the coup had not achieved complete success and raised the possibility of President Bazoum’s reinstatement. These sentiments were echoed by France and Germany, further complicating the already tumultuous situation in the region.