Niger state TV declares a basic is the chief of the troopers who staged a coup



NIAMEY, Niger — Niger state tv has declared Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani the chief of mutinous troopers who detained the democratically elected president in a coup.

Tchiani, who goes by Omar, addressed the nation Friday, two days after the navy takeover.

He mentioned the nation wanted to alter course to keep away from “the gradual and inevitable demise” and thus he and others had determined to intervene.

As he spoke, state TV recognized him because the chief of the Nationwide Council for the Safeguarding of the Nation, the group of troopers who mentioned they staged the takeover.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows under.

Varied factions of Niger’s navy wrangled for energy Friday, an analyst and a Western navy official mentioned, two days after members of the presidential guard detained the democratically elected president in a coup, setting off political chaos that would set again the nation’s battle towards jihadists and improve Russia’s affect in West Africa.

It remained unclear who was in cost, and if efforts at mediation had begun. A delegation from neighboring Nigeria left shortly after arriving, and the president of Benin, nominated as a mediator by a regional physique, had not arrived.

An analyst who has spoken with contributors within the talks mentioned that the Presidential Guard, which led the coup, is negotiating with the military about who needs to be in cost. The analyst requested to not be named due to the delicate scenario.

A western navy official in Niger who shouldn’t be approved to talk to the media confirmed that the navy factions had been believed to be negotiating, and mentioned that scenario stays tense and all the components are on the desk for it to erupt in preventing.

Talking in Papua New Guinea, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the coup as “fully illegitimate and profoundly harmful for the Nigeriens, Niger and the entire area.” He mentioned that he had spoken repeatedly with President Mohamed Bazoum, and that the detained chief is in good well being.

French International Minister Catherine Colonna informed French media that there was nonetheless time to finish what she described as an “tried coup.”

“If you’re listening to me communicate of an tried coup, that’s as a result of we don’t regard issues as definitive,” French media quoted Colonna as saying. She additionally spoke of “doable exits if these liable for this try hear the message from the worldwide neighborhood.”

Niger is seen because the final associate within the West’s efforts to battle jihadists linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group in Africa’s Sahel area, the place Russia and the west have been vying for affect within the battle towards extremism. France, which dominated Niger as a colony till 1960, has 1,500 troopers within the nation, who conduct joint operations with the Nigeriens.

On Thursday, a number of hundred individuals gathered within the capital, Niamey, and chanted assist for the Russian non-public navy group Wagner whereas waving Russian flags. Later, they burned automobiles and ransacked the headquarters of the president’s political occasion. “We’re fed up,” mentioned Omar Issaka, one of many protestors.

“We’re bored with being focused by the boys within the bush … Down with the French individuals. We’re going to collaborate with Russia now,” he mentioned.

The mutinous troopers haven’t introduced a pacesetter and President Mohamed Bazoum, who was elected two years in the past in Niger’s first peaceable, democratic switch of energy since its independence from France in 1960, has not resigned.

A number of the final public communications from the federal government included a defiant tweet by the president Thursday declaring that democracy would prevail and a name by the International Minister Hassoumi Massoudou, on media outlet France 24, for Nigeriens to face towards the mutiny.

Nevertheless, it is unclear who’s concerned in these dialogues, the character of the discussions or how they’re continuing.

Earlier this week, The Financial Neighborhood of West African States mentioned it was sending Benin President Patrice Talon to steer mediation efforts, however as of Friday Talon was not within the nation. Throughout their first tackle to the nation Wednesday night time, the mutineers urged “exterior companions” to not intervene.

Macron mentioned France helps regional organizations, particularly ECWAS, “within the selections that it should take — of mediation or condemnation and sanctions towards the putschists in the event that they make progress and finalize their plan.”

Analysts say the coup threatens to starkly reshape the worldwide neighborhood’s engagement with the Sahel area.

On Thursday, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, mentioned the nation’s “substantial cooperation with the Authorities of Niger is contingent on Niger’s continued dedication to democratic requirements.”

Niger may lose hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in navy support and help, which america and European nations have lately poured in an try to assist in the battle towards Islamic extremism.

The USA in early 2021 mentioned it had supplied Niger with greater than $500 million in navy help and coaching applications since 2012, one of many largest such assist applications in sub-Saharan Africa. The European Union earlier this 12 months launched a 27 million-euro ($30 million) navy coaching mission in Niger.

The USA has greater than 1,000 service personnel within the nation.

Some navy leaders who look like concerned within the coup have labored intently with america for years. A number of senior officers appeared in a video that introduced the coup on state tv two days in the past.

Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, the top of Niger’s particular forces has an particularly robust relationship with america, the western navy official mentioned, and his presence within the video sparked concern about shifting loyalties.

The coup has dashed hopes of collaboration between Sahelian nations and Western powers, which supplied a extra strong response to the jihadist riot in comparison with the methods to arm civilians in Burkina Faso or the accountability given to Wagner in Mali, mentioned Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim, senior Sahel analyst for the Worldwide Disaster Group.

Neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso have each ousted the French navy, which beforehand supplied support of their battle towards jihadists. Mali has contracted Wagner, and it’s believed the mercenaries will quickly be in Burkina Faso. Now, issues are mounting that Niger will observe of their footsteps.

As uncertainty lingers about who’s in cost, insecurity may worsen. “The military officers shall be busy positioning themselves in energy struggles and abandon the battle towards jihadists,” mentioned Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel program on the Konrad Adenauer Basis.

Rights teams additionally warn that civilians often bear the brunt of those mutinies.

“Throughout a coup, the primary victims are all the time the identical: essentially the most susceptible, ladies and youngsters,” mentioned Drissa Traore, secretary-general of the Worldwide Federation for Human Rights.

On Thursday the United Nations Workplace for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs mentioned it has paused operations in Niger, the place greater than 370,000 persons are internally displaced and greater than 4 million depend on support.


AP author John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

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