CrisisWatch Niger

Deteriorated Situation

Niamey announced withdrawal from West African regional bloc alongside Burkina Faso and Mali, dealing blow to regional integration; Niamey strengthened ties with Russia. 

Junta announced leaving ECOWAS, defying pressure to restore constitutional rule. Junta leaders of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso 28 Jan announced leaving ECOWAS, denouncing “inhumane” sanctions; move defies pressure to restore constitutional rule and deals blow to regional integration. ECOWAS immediately said three countries were “important members of the Community” and bloc “remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse”; also said it had not yet received formal withdrawal notification. Earlier in month, ECOWAS mediation led by Togo 8 Jan obtained release of deposed President Bazoum’s son, Salem Bazoum. ECOWAS delegation visit originally scheduled for 10 Jan and postponed to 25 Jan at Niamey’s request did not take place, as ECOWAS delegation reported “technical issues”.

Authorities kept severing ties with France and strengthening relations with Russia. France 2 Jan confirmed permanent closure of its embassy in Niamey citing “serious impediments making it impossible to carry out its missions”. Authorities 26 Jan reportedly sent home fifteen European training mission (EUCAP) staff and 26-27 Jan prevented their head of mission and at least five French nationals from entering country. After signature of military cooperation agreements with Russia in Dec, PM Zeine 16 Jan led delegation to Russian capital Moscow; both countries announced plans to enhance military cooperation.

Insecurity persisted in Tillabery region (south west). In Gotheye department, air force 5 Jan launched airstrikes on Garé Garé gold miners camp, Tiawa village, reportedly killing at least 30 jihadist militants and at least fifteen civilians; NGO Center for Civilians in Conflict 11 Jan called for “full, impartial, and transparent investigation”, reminded armed forces of their obligation to “never target civilians”. In Kollo department, suspected jihadist militants 11 Jan attacked gendarmerie post in Laoudou village, south of Niamey, killing two gendarmes and five civilians.

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In The News

26 Sep 2023
[The coup in Niger marks] the beginning of the end of a sequence of French troops withdrawing from the central Sahel. The Guardian

Jean-Hervé Jezequel

Project Director, Sahel
17 Aug 2023
If an ECOWAS invasion [of Niger] happened, and there was a regional war, I think that would really put the [U.S.] Defense Department in a tricky position. Responsible Statecraft

Sarah Harrison

Senior Analyst, U.S. Program

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