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From left PAP President Hon. Chief Fortune Chrumbira of Zimbabwe, Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, PAP Vice President Hon. Lúcia Maria Mendes Gonçalves dos Passos. Niamey, Niger July 2023. Image courtesy of PAP MediaNiger Flag

The Pan-African Parliament, the African Union (AU), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have strongly condemned the attempted coup d’état in the Republic of Niger. The unfolding situation in Niger, marked by an apparent attempt by a section of the military to overthrow the democratically elected government, has drawn international concern and calls for swift action to protect democracy and stability in the country. The coup attempt comes after the Presidency announced a new ambitious road infrastructure construction and rehabilitation project on Monday.

In Niger’s capital Niamey, pandemonium ensued as the head of the presidential guard, Gen. Tchiany, led a mutiny by his loyal forces. President Mohamed Bazoum is being held by the mutineers at the presidential palace, and they are pressuring him to resign. Reports suggest that the attempted coup stems from the soldiers’ grievances over poor living conditions, including issues with salaries and welfare services. Gen. Tchiany had repeatedly raised these concerns with the president, who, in turn, was planning to replace him despite his long experience in the position. The situation is tense, with the presidential spokesperson confirming it as an attempted coup rather than a mere mutiny. President Bazoum is reportedly safe and is in talks with the mutiny soldiers until a resolution is reached, possibly involving his voluntary resignation.

Suspected coup plotter, General Tchiany. Image from Twitter/ @ZagazOlaMakama

President of the Pan-African Parliament, His Excellency Chief Fortune Zephania Charumbira, expressed grave concern over the unfolding events in Niger and condemned the brazen attempt to undermine the will of the people through forceful means. In a statement, he called for the immediate and unconditional release of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family and urged the military conspirators to return to their barracks. The Pan-African Parliament reaffirmed its commitment to representative democracy and the rule of law and expressed solidarity with the government and people of Niger.

Statement by the president of the Pan-African Parliament on the unfolding situation in Niger

Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat of the African Union Commission also expressed strong condemnation of the attempted coup in Niger. He denounced the actions of certain members of the military as a betrayal of duty and a threat to democratic and republican institutions. The AU called for President Bazoum’s liberation amid reports that members of the presidential guard were holding him inside his palace.

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki condemns the coup attempt in Niger in a statement

ECOWAS, through its Chairman Bola Tinubu, echoed the AU’s sentiments, stating that it will do everything within its power to protect Niger’s democracy. Tinubu emphasized that ECOWAS will not accept any action that impedes the smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa.

Statement by ECOWAS Chairman President Tinubu on the unfolding situation in Sudan

The international community, including the European Union (EU) and France, also condemned the attempted coup. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell expressed his deep concern about the events in Niamey and condemned any attempts to destabilize Niger’s democracy. France, a key Western ally, strongly condemned any attempt to seize power by force in Niger.

President Mohamed Bazoum, who was elected in 2021 as Niger’s first democratically elected leader following a history of military coups, has faced challenges to his government’s stability before. In March 2021, a military unit attempted to seize the presidential palace, but the coup was thwarted.

The attempted coup in Niger could have wider implications for the region, particularly in the fight against the jihadist insurgency that has spread from Mali. Niger has become a crucial ally for Western powers in combating the insurgency and addressing irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa.

As the situation unfolds, the international community remains vigilant and committed to upholding democratic principles and stability in Niger and the wider West African region.

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