Niger: A Call for HELP

In an editorial article published in the Washington Post, Mr. Bazoum, the first democratically elected president to replace another in Niger, urged the US to intervene to save his country after its government was deposed in a coup last week. The President of Niger has also urged the “entire international community” to help “restore constitutional order.”

“I appeal to the United States government and the entire international community to assist us in restoring our constitutional order,” he stated. “The only way to make long-term progress against poverty and terrorism is to fight for our shared values, including democratic pluralism and respect for the rule of law.” The Nigerien people will never forget your assistance at this crucial moment in our history.”

He warned that his country may become a customer of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group. “The entire central Sahel region could fall to Russian influence via the Wagner group, whose brutal terrorism has been on full display in Ukraine,” Mr. Bazoum warned.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Mr. Bazoum and stated that the US was committed to restoring Niger’s democratically elected government.

The State Department announced on Thursday that it will assist individual American citizens in Niger in their evacuation.

American President Joe Biden issued a statement in which he stated that Niger was “facing a grave challenge to its democracy” and called for Bazoum’s release.

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Niamey, Niger’s capital, in support of the coup and to criticize other West African countries for placing financial and commercial sanctions on Niger. Many supporters of the coup in Niger have been chanting pro-Russian slogans and donning Russian flag colors.

The coup leaders stated on Thursday that they were pulling the country’s ambassadors from France, the United States, Nigeria, and Togo.

The European Union has labeled the military commanders’ takeover a coup, but the Biden administration has so far hesitated from using the term, which would imply a suspension of all US economic and military support.

Mr. Bazoum wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post on Thursday evening that if the military takeover in the impoverished West African state succeeds, “it will have devastating consequences for our country, our region, and the entire world.”

Sanctions have already been levied by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Despite threats of involvement from its neighbors, the military group that took control of the country has shown no signs of stepping down.

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