CrisisWatch Niger

Unchanged Situation

As U.S. military prepared to withdraw, govt strengthened military relations with Russia and held initial security discussions with China. 

Govt formed closer ties with Russia as U.S. troops began withdrawal preparations. Following severing of military accords with Washington in March, civil society groups 13 April organised protest in capital Niamey in support of govt and demanding immediate departure of U.S. military personnel, attended by thousands; hundreds 21 April also demonstrated in Agadez town – where U.S. base located – ahead of 25 April arrival of Washington delegation to arrange withdrawal. Meanwhile, highlighting shifting military alliances, some 100 Russian military instructors and material 10 April arrived in Niamey with mission of training Nigerien forces in using new equipment including anti-aircraft systems; troops possibly affiliated with Russian paramilitary Africa Corps, formerly known as Wagner Group, who 12 April announced presence in Niger via social media. Additionally, officials 23 April discussed strengthening defence cooperation with Chinese ambassador.

Junta consolidated power as case against former President Bazoum set to begin. Transitional President Gen. Tiani 4 April dissolved regional, municipal and local councils, replacing officials with military authorities-chosen special delegates, majority of whom are military personnel. Next day, court announced it would rule in May on case of Bazoum’s political immunity on charges of conspiracy against state, “high treason” and support of terrorism. 

Jihadist-related violence persisted in Tillabery and Diffa regions. In Tillabery (south west), suspected Islamic State Sahel Province (IS Sahel) explosive device 8 April killed six soldiers near Tin Gara village; armed forces same day responded with airstrikes near village, killing at least ten alleged IS Sahel militants. Meanwhile in Diffa (south east), Boko Haram 23 April wounded four soldiers near Lada village. 

In another important development. Amid economic challenges, govt deepened energy ties with key partners, notably 12 April announced $400mn loan from China National Petroleum Corporation as advance on future oil sales and 16 April finalised gas deal with Mali, in part motivated by latter’s energy crisis.

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In The News

1 မေလ 2024
Western powers have enjoyed quite a bit of leeway in how they influenced and meddled in local affairs [in Niger]. Al Jazeera

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim

Deputy Project Director, Sahel
26 စက်တင်ဘာလ 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 သြဂုတ်လ 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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