Niger’s President Abducted in Possible Coup
President Mohamed Bazoum, elected in 2021 in Nigeria’s first peaceful transfer of power since its independence from France in 1960, was abducted in a possible coup. President Bazoum has the backing of several political parties, and he is a key ally to the West’s effort to battle jihadists linked to al-Qaida in Africa’s Sahel region. The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that he was “extremely worried about the situation in Niger and how these events were having terrible effects on development in the region.” There have been successive unconstitutional changes of government in the Sahel region. Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou called on all Nigerian patriots to stand together and demand the president’s unconditional release.
The Wagner group, which is stirring up much fury in the region with its thirst for power and domination, has already set its sights on Niger which is very rich in uranium, but President Bazoum posed a threat because of his pro-French and pro-Western stance. If the unrest is designated a coup by the United States, Niger could lose millions of dollars in support and aid, and it sets back the advance of a democratic culture in the Sahel. There have been multiple coups in the region since its independence in 1960.