Niger’s ousted President Mohamed Bazoum has called on the international community to return his government to power, warning of “devastating” consequences for the world if the coup against him succeeds.
In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Bazoum, who was deposed last week by the military, said the United States and the rest of the international community must help his country “restore our constitutional order”.
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“This coup, launched against my government by a faction in the military on July 26, has no justification whatsoever,” Bazoum said in the column published on Thursday.
“If it succeeds, it will have devastating consequences for our country, our region and the entire world.”
Bazoum, one of a dwindling number of pro-Western leaders in Africa, said the West African country has been a beacon of hope in a region plagued with violent extremism.
“In Africa’s troubled Sahel region, Niger stands as the last bastion of respect for human rights amid the authoritarian movements that have overtaken some of our neighbours,” Bazoum said.
“The entire Sahel region could fall to Russian influence via the Wagner Group, whose brutal terrorism has been on full display in Ukraine,” Bazoum added.
Niger, which gained its independence from France in 1960, has been viewed as one of the reliable partners of the West in fighting extremist groups in Africa’s Sahel region.
The West African country, which borders seven countries including Libya, Chad and Nigeria, is the largest recipient of US military assistance in the region, having received an estimated $500m since 2012.
Niger also hosts more than 2,000 Western troops, mostly from the US and France.
Bazoum’s election in 2021 was the first peaceful transfer of power in Niger since independence.
In an address on state television on Friday, General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself the head of a transitional government after toppling the government in order to prevent “the gradual and inevitable demise” of the country.