EU Suspends All Security Cooperation With Niger

The EU has suspended all security cooperation with Niger after the country’s army took power in a coup.

It comes shortly after the US declared its “unflagging support” for ousted president Mohamed Bazoum – seen as a key Western ally in the fight against Islamist militants.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell joined the US and France in refusing to recognise the coup leaders and said security cooperation and budgetary aid was being suspended indefinitely.

Also on Saturday France, the former colonial power which had moved its regional military headquarters to the country after being forced to leave Mali, said it had suspended all development aid and budgetary support.

Meanwhile the African Union called on the Niger army to return to base within 15 days.

The 62 years old head of the presidential guards unit, Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani had declared himself Niger’s new leader, attributing insecurity, economic woes and corruption as the reason he seized power.

He also addressed Niger’s global allies, saying the junta would respect all of the country’s international commitments, as well as human rights.

The junta however had strong words for those who oppose them, accusing members of the ousted government who have taken refuge in foreign embassies of plotting against them.

They said any such attempt would lead to bloodshed, which had so far been avoided.

Gen Tchiani has been in charge of the presidential guard since 2011 and was promoted to the rank of general in 2018 by former President Issoufou.

He had also been linked to a 2015 coup attempt against the ex-president, but appeared in court to deny it.

Niger’s coup is the latest in a wave of military takeovers that have hit the West African region in recent years, toppling governments in countries including Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

The coup came as a shock to the leadership of the regional body Ecowas, as just two weeks ago, the bloc’s Chairman, President Bola Tinubu, warned that terrorism and the emerging pattern of coups in West Africa had reached alarming levels and demanded urgent, concerted actions.

This is the fifth coup in Niger since it gained independence from France in 1960, on top of other unsuccessful takeover attempts.

Although life in the capital Niamey has largely returned to normal with markets and shops open, civil servants have been told to go home.


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