28, July 2023
General Abdourahamane Tchiani is the new leader of Niger following a military takeover, state television reported Friday, two days after the country’s president was detained by members of his own guard.
Tchiani, the head of the Presidential Guard, has been named “president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland,” a statement said.
Appearing on state television, the general said soldiers had seized power to the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel country.
The country’s elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, has been detained by the putschists since Wednesday morning.
Earlier on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron described the coup as “dangerous” for the region as Western powers scramble to preserve a key ally in the insurgent-stricken Sahel.
“This coup is completely illegitimate and profoundly dangerous, for Nigeriens, for Niger and for the whole region,” Macron said.
Macron said he had spoken to Bazoum, who is being held in his palace, and called for him to be reinstated.
Niger’s government had been seen by many in the international community as a bulwark against Islamist militancy in a vast, arid region that is beset by security challenges.
‘Last bastion of democracy in the Sahel’: Uncertainty in Niger prompts concern among allies
French and UN troops were in recent years forced to withdraw from neighbouring Mali, but Paris still has 1,500 soldiers in Niger. Bazoum’s overthrow could put the future of their deployment in doubt.
Macron, speaking during a visit to Papua New Guinea, said it was imperative that the constitutional order be restored and vowed to support regional groupings like ECOWAS in mediation or sanctions against putschists.