The military coup leadership in Niger continues to maintain a firm grip on power, with President Mohamed Bazoum still held in detention despite fervent calls from Western nations for his immediate release and the restoration of his government. The situation has prompted the United States to take action, leading to a pause in some foreign aid programs to Niger and setting the stage for potential sanctions on the junta.
President Joe Biden has been a vocal advocate for President Bazoum's restoration, urging the release of the detained leader. The United States has stopped short of officially labeling the events in Niger as a "coup." Nevertheless, the move to withhold foreign aid and consider sanctions signals Washington's disapproval of the current government's actions.
In response to the tense situation in Niger, the American embassy in Niamey has partially evacuated its personnel, ensuring the safety of its staff amid the escalating political crisis. Senior diplomats, however, continue to operate from the embassy as they closely monitor the unfolding events.
The situation in Niger has also drawn the attention of regional bodies like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The group of Western friendly nations is actively preparing for a potential military intervention to reinstate President Bazoum. ECOWAS defense chiefs have finalized a plan for a forceful response against the Niger junta if Bazoum is not reinstated, pending approval from their political leaders.
Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, the leader of the coup, has responded to the looming threat of intervention from West African nations by issuing a warning of an immediate response to any external aggression against Niger.
Adding to the complexities of the situation, the coup leaders have accused France of granting legal permission for a French military intervention to restore the government in Niger.
Experts and observers have noted that any potential military intervention by West African nations is likely to concentrate along the 1,000-mile border between Nigeria and Niger. The proximity of the two countries makes it a pivotal region for any attempts to restore Bazoum's administration.