Niger’s coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, has announced plans to guide the West African nation back to civilian governance within a span of three years.
During a press briefing held in the capital city of Niamey, Gen Tchiani affirmed the commitment of the coup leaders to facilitate a smooth transition to civilian rule. “Our primary aim is to guide Niger back to a stable and legitimate civilian government within the next three years,” he stated.
The declaration came following discussions with mediators from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in the capital city of Niamey.
Ecowas, the regional bloc, has indicated the potential for military intervention to counteract the recent overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum should diplomatic negotiations falter.
During a televised address on Saturday evening, Gen Tchiani emphasized that Niger did not seek war but affirmed the country’s readiness to defend itself against external intervention.
“While we do not wish for conflict, we are steadfast in our determination to defend our country against any foreign intervention.”
He cautioned that any prospective attack would not be as straightforward as some assume.
Gen Tchiani also reiterated his concerns over what he termed “illegal and inhumane” sanctions imposed on Niger by Ecowas.
These measures have led to power cuts, plunging major cities like Niamey into darkness, and obstructed critical imports. The resultant supply shortages have driven up food prices, impacting the populace’s daily lives.
In response to the situation, a stadium in Niamey witnessed thousands of men registering for a volunteer force, geared towards defense in the event of an invasion. However, overcrowding hindered the commencement of the registration process.
Backing regional efforts to address the coup, the United States and France, both possessing military bases in Niger, have displayed their support. These bases form part of the broader counterterrorism endeavors against jihadist groups in the Sahel region.
Gen Tchiani, who previously headed the presidential guard before assuming power on July 26, contended that military intervention might exacerbate Islamist insurgencies linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
He underscored the role of Niger’s defense and security forces in preventing terrorist elements from destabilizing the broader region.
The coup in Niger mirrors recent takeovers in neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali. Meanwhile, Russia’s influence in the Sahel region is expanding through its Wagner mercenary group.
While Gen Tchiani did not provide specific details regarding the transition of power, he indicated that the framework for this transition would be defined within 30 days during a “dialogue” hosted by the coup leaders.
Ecowas has yet to comment on Gen Tchiani’s announcement. However, during their recent visit, mediators held discussions with both the detained President Mohamed Bazoum and his family.
This diplomatic mission marked the initial interaction between the coup leaders and Ecowas representatives, underlining the ongoing efforts to address the evolving situation in Niger.Email your news TIPS to Editor@kahawatungu.com or WhatsApp +254707482874