spot_imgspot_img
Friday, June 21, 2024

NIGER COUP SUPPORTERS RALLY AS REGIONAL FORCE MULLS INTERVENTION

Date:

NIAMEY, (REUTERS) – Thousands of people gathered in Niger’s capital on Friday to demonstrate in favour of last month’s coup as regional leaders were considering military intervention to restore civilian rule.

Since the July 26 military ouster of elected President Mohamed Bazoum, many Nigeriens have joined junta-organised rallies to show support for the generals, criticise Western powers and laud Russia, which is vying for influence with the West in the region.

The peaceful crowd on Friday numbered in the thousands, according to a Reuters witness. The rally began at a French military base in the capital Niamey then protesters with signs and flags spread onto surrounding streets.

“Long live Russia,” one protester’s sign read. “Down with France…. Down with ECOWAS,” referring to the Economic Community of West African States. At a summit on Thursday, the body ordered the activation of a standby force that could intervene to reinstate Bazoum.

The military takeover was the seventh coup in West and Central Africa in three years, and demonstrations in Niger have mirrored street scenes in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso after coups between 2020 and 2022.

Popular anger is targeted at former colonial power France, whose forces were kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso after the coups there and whose presence in Niger is under threat. Protesters in Niger attacked the French embassy.

“I am here to request the departure of the French forces,” said protester Salamatou Hima on Friday. “We are free and we have the right to demand what is beneficial for our country.”

The military coup was triggered by internal politics but has repercussions far beyond Niger’s borders, raising the spectre of deepening conflict in a strategically important region. Uranium-rich Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been an ally for the West in the fight against Islamist militants in the Sahel region.

U.S., French, German and Italian troops are stationed in Niger to repel local affiliates of al Qaeda and Islamic State that have killed thousands and displaced millions across the Sahel.

STANDBY FORCE

Regional army chiefs were expected to meet in coming days. It was not yet clear how long the ECOWAS standby force would take to assemble, how big it would be and if it will actually invade. The organisation stressed that all options were on the table and it still hoped for a peaceful resolution.

Security analysts said the force could take weeks to set up, potentially leaving room for negotiations.

Ivory Coast is the only country so far to specify how many troops it would send, promising a battalion of 850 on Thursday.

Most other countries in the 15-nation ECOWAS have so far either declined to comment or not yet taken a decision.

At Friday’s rally, protester Ali Hassane vowed to defend his country. If the ECOWAS force invades, “it’s us civilians who are going to fight,” he said.

Russia’s foreign ministry said it supported ECOWAS efforts to mediate but warned against any military intervention in Niger, saying it could destabilise the country and region.

France said it fully backed conclusions of the ECOWAS summit but did not outline any concrete support it would give to a potential intervention.

Niger’s junta has yet to react to the prospect of a forceful intervention by ECOWAS. But it has rebuffed repeated calls for dialogue from the international community and named a new government hours before the summit.

Military governments in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, have said they will defend the junta in Niger.

WORRY ABOUT BAZOUM

Meanwhile, the African Union, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations all said they were increasingly worried about Bazoum’s detention conditions.

The U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk on Friday said the conditions were “rapidly deteriorating” and could amount to a violation of international human rights law.

Human Rights Watch said it had spoken to Bazoum this week and that he had told them that his family’s treatment in custody was “inhuman and cruel”.

“My son is sick, has a serious heart condition, and needs to see a doctor,” HRW quoted Bazoum as telling it.

Bazoum’s daughter Zazia Bazoum, who is in France, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper the junta was keeping him in deplorable conditions to pressure him to sign a resignation letter. Reuters could not independently confirm the conditions of his detention.

smartnews
Smart News Liberia is an online news outlet and a product of Smart Media Group Inc. Our website, smartnewsliberia.com, covers a broad spectrum of news content. For inquiries or information, you can reach us at 0777425285 or 0886946925, or email us at smartnewsliberia@gmail.com or info@smartnewsliberia.com.

LATEST DEVELOPMENT

PRESIDENT BOAKAI FACES INTEGRITY CRISIS AMID SCANDAL INVOLVING SENIOR ADVISOR

MONRORVIA – President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, known for his...

CONTROVERSY SURROUNDS DISMISSAL OF MINISTRY OF LABOR EMPLOYEES IN GBARPOLU COUNTY

MONROVIA – The Ministry of Labor recently made headlines...

THE SENATE’S EXTRAVAGANCE AMID ECONOMIC DESPAIR

The recent Senate retreat in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County,...

LIBERIA’S LEGAL SYSTEM UNDER SIEGE: THE UNPUNISHED CRIMES OF MARIA LUYKEN

In October 2020, the Criminal Court ‘B’ at the...

COMMUNICATIONS MISHAP: A SIGNIFICANT EMBARRASSMENT TO THE PRESIDENCY

The recent debacle surrounding the Unity Party government's conflicting...

COMMENTARY

NO, SPEAKER KOFFA, I DISAGREE WITH THE DEFENSE OF LAWMAKERS

By Wondah L. Jah In a recent public statement, Grand...

COMMEMORATING THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY: A DEFINING MOMENT IN HISTORY

Eighty years ago, on June 6, 1944, the course...

THERE SHOULD BE NO BIG DEAL WHEN A GOVERNMENT DOES WHAT IT WAS ELECTED FOR…

A Patriot's Diary  With Ekena Nyankun Juahgbe-Droh Wesley  President Joseph Boakai's...

LATEST NEWS

Share post:

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

OPINION

ELEVATING THE AG BIBLE COLLEGE TO A UNIVERSITY: A MILESTONE ACHIEVEMENT

By Jacob N.B. Parley After many years of successful preaching...

THE DILEMMA OF PRESIDENTIAL SUPREMACY IN LIBERIA: EXAMINING THE BALANCE OF POWER

By Dr. Clarence R. Pearson, Sr. Superior presidency is the...

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN UP-LED GOVERNMENT’S DEAL RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS

In a shocking and controversial move, the Unity Party...

THE PERILS OF PRAISE SINGING: HOW JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY IS ESSENTIAL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN LIBERIA

Journalists play a crucial role in holding public officials...

THE GALLERY

spot_imgspot_img

MORE ARTICLES

spot_imgspot_img

MORE NEWS

LATEST DEVELOPMENT NEWS

LATEST CRIME NEWS

Share via
Copy link