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Dramatic Coup in Niger: Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani Declares Himself New Leader

In a stunning turn of events, Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani, also known as Omar Tchiani, has proclaimed himself as the new leader of Niger following a dramatic coup. The takeover commenced on Wednesday when Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani presidential guards unit seized the country’s leader, President Mohamed Bazoum. This coup marks a devastating blow to Niger’s first peaceful and democratic transition since gaining independence in 1960.

Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani becomes Niger Leader

Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani

President Bazoum’s well-being remains a matter of concern as he is still being held captive by his own guards. He had been recognized as a crucial ally by Western nations in the fight against Islamist militants in the region.

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International bodies, including the African Union, the West African regional bloc (Ecowas), the European Union, and the United Nations, have strongly condemned the coup in Niger. However, the leader of Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has purportedly lauded the coup, referring to it as a triumphant struggle of the Nigerien people against their colonizers. The authenticity of Prigozhin’s reported comments remains unverified by the BBC.

Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani, 62, has been in control of the presidential guard since 2011 and was promoted to the rank of general in 2018 by former President Mahamadou Issoufou. He has been previously linked to a 2015 coup attempt against the ex-president, though he denied the allegations during a court appearance.

Niger map features locator 1

In a televised address, Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani explained that his junta seized power due to several challenges plaguing Niger, including insecurity, economic hardships, and corruption, among other pressing issues.

This coup in Niger reflects the latest instance of political upheaval in the West African region, with recent takeovers toppling governments in countries such as Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. The emergence of such coups and the escalating terrorism levels have deeply concerned the leadership of Ecowas. President Bola Tinubu, the bloc’s chairman, issued a warning just two weeks ago, urging urgent and concerted actions to address the situation.

President Mohamed Bazoum 1

With Niger’s neighboring countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, having leaned towards Moscow following their own recent coups, there are apprehensions about which direction the new leader will align the nation with.

As the situation unfolds, the international community closely watches the developments in Niger and assesses the implications it may have on regional stability and diplomatic relations.