Since Wednesday, July 26, 2023, the President of Niger, Mr. Mohamed Bazoum, has been kidnapped and held prisoner by elements of the Republican Guard, normally responsible for ensuring his security. A military government, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, is now in power in this Sahel country. In the wake of this takeover, ministers, deputies and representatives of civil society were also arrested.

Environmentalists call for the immediate release of President Bazoum and all other political prisoners.

“Clashes between soldiers in Sudan, jihadist attacks in the Sahel, coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea: the political and security situation is extremely fragile throughout this part of the world. This new military coup facing a democratically elected president can only destabilize the region a little more,” reads the press release published on the website of the French green party.

Marine Tondelier, the national secretary of EELV on December 10, 2022. – © AFP / Emmanuel Dunand

After having had to withdraw its troops from Mali, France, a former colonial power, did not learn from it and redeployed the bulk of its military forces to Niger, with nearly 1,500 soldiers stationed at the Niamey air base.

Faced with anti-French demonstrations outside the French Embassy, President Emmanuel Macron threatens to use armed force to defend the interests of France and French companies.

In addition to the migration control entrusted to it, Niger is also the leading supplier of uranium to the E.U. Orano (formerly Areva) has been mining uranium there for more than 50 years. This ore essential to the operation of nuclear power plants is a “strategic” resource at a time when President Macron wishes, under the guise of energy transition, to revive the French nuclear industry. This exploitation is disastrous for the environment and for the health situation of local populations. Insufficiently remunerated, it does not benefit Niger, which is ranked 187th out of 187 according to the international index of the HDI (Human Development Index). This position illustrates the continuity of the policy of “françafrique” which, far from improving the situation of the countries, has only deepened the deterioration of the political, security, social, economic and environmental situations.

France, Germany, the African Union and ECOWAS have adopted a whole series of sanctions against the new junta in power, in particular by suspending financial aid and development aid.

The defense chiefs from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries excluding Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea and Niger pose for a group photo during their extraordinary meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, to discuss the situation in Niger. © Chinedu Asadu, AP

EELV questions the relevance of some of these sanctions, which applied in Mali in particular, have shown their limits by affecting civilian populations more than juntas.

For EELV, under these conditions, the restoration of President BAZOUM and the return to constitutional order will not be enough to restore calm to the region. Without profound changes to this policy of extractivist, military and migration control exploitation, anti-France and anti-West sentiment, exacerbated by Russian propaganda, will continue to grow in all countries of the region.

Here are the recommendations of Europe Ecology – The Greens:

  • EELV takes note of the determination of the international community to oppose this new coup in Niger.
  • EELV wants all diplomatic means to be used to resolve this crisis. Any recourse to armed force in an already fragile region would only aggravate the chaos and encourage armed jihadist movements. It is essential that regional organizations – the African Union and ECOWAS – fully play their role as mediators in this process, including by avoiding the use of force which would be counterproductive.
  • For EELV, it is essential to support Nigeriens in order to promote development that benefits the entire population.

It should be remembered that the chiefs of staff of the ECOWAS countries are ready to intervene against the junta, while ensuring that the military option will be “the last on the table”. Opposite, Mali and Burkina Faso announced that an operation against Niamey would be likened to a “declaration of war” against them.

Billy Omeonga

Billy Omeonga graduated in Journalism and Creative Writing. I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I am currently pursuing an MBA at the University of the People in the United States of America. I love activities that involve ideas and critical thinking. I am passionate about nature and protecting the environment. I believe in protecting our planet and its natural resources. I hate dishonest and pessimistic people. Honesty is an integral part of my view of the world and it is a value in which I strongly believe. I speak French and English fluently. In my free time, I like to read and play the piano. Also, I disapprove of the unreliability. I am a reliable person, so I expect a certain level of reliability from those I am reliable to.

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