Niger is a West African Country and Member State of the regional body dubbed ECOWAS. Its neighbors being Chad, Mali, Benin Burkina Faso, Algeria and Libya. Since its independence, the country has had a total of eight coups, out of which five were successful while three were not successful. The country is considered to be a part of the coup belt that separates North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The first coup happened in 1974 when the military brought to an end Hamani Diori regime which had been in power for 14 years. Following the coup, the constitution of Niger was suspended and the National Assembly was dissolved.

The leader of the coup, Lieutenant Colonel Seyni Kountche, formed a 12-member Supreme Military Council which governed all the affairs of the government.

Two decades later in 1996, Niger faced its second coup crisis. President Mahamane Ousmane and Prime Minister Hama Amadou were overthrown by the military who cited tough economic times as the reason for the coup.

The then Chief of Staff of the armed forces, Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Bare Mainassara became Niger’s President and was quoted saying that the purpose of the coup was not to end multi-party democracy but to allow a new start for the country.

Three years after Mainassara successfully staged a coup, he suffered a worse fate than that of his predecessor. He was attacked and killed while at Niamey airport by dissident soldiers. The head of the presidential guard, Daouda Malam Wanke, took over as an interim President and announced that there would be democratic elections by 2000 to restore civilian rule.

The 2000 elections were praised by international observers as free and fair, Mamadou Tandja was pronounced the winner by the electoral body.

In 2010, Tandja and his ministers were captured by a group of military leaders who called themselves the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. The group suspended all the state agencies and promised to make Niger an example of good governance and democracy.

The 2010 coup was a result of Niger’s President, Tandja, dissolving the parliament and extending his presidential term beyond the stipulated two terms.

Following the 2010 coup, a general election was held in 2011 and Issoufou won the Presidential seat through a run-off.

Now the recent coup in Niger is the July 26th, 2023 coup. Members of the Presidential guard led by Omar Tchiani captured and detained Bazoum incommunicado. The military then announced the suspension of all government institutions, borders closed and a curfew enacted.

The detaining of President Bazoum angered the regional body ECOWAS, France, United Nations and the United States. ECOWAS member states threatened to engage the military but West Africa Junta vowed to stand with the Niger army.

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One Response

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