By Kivanc Ozdal
General Abdurahman Ciyani, Chairman of the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland and Commander of the Presidential Guard Regiment in Niger, has announced that the President of the country, Muhammed Bazum was overthrown and the Constitution suspended due to the socio-economic crisis in the country. Following the events, the people hung the flags of Niger and Russia on the French Embassy building.
General Ciyani made statements on the state television on the occasion of the Independence Day, August 3. Stating that the sanctions of the Economic Community of West African States on Niger are “illegal, unjust and inhumane”, Ciyani noted that these sanctions will further impoverish the people of Niger. Nigeria, member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), cut off the electricity it supplied to Niger. It left the people of Niger without electricity. General Çyani went in front of the cameras and promised his people that he would not bow to international threats.
‘They cannot frighten the people of Niger’
Ibrahim Yero is Editor-in-Chief of the weekly political magazine l’Eclosion published in Niger. We spoke with him on the recent developments
Yero said, “in the capital city of Niamey and the rest of the country, power outages started due to the sanctions of the (ECOWAS). The reason is that Nigeria cut off the electricity it supplies to Niger. Also, as the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) announced that it was closing its branches in Niger until further notice, many people went to the banks and tried to withdraw their money.” The Nigerien journalist said that neither the pressures of the Economic Community of West African States, nor those of France and the USA could intimidate the people of Niger.
Emphasizing that the people of Niger fully support the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland against French imperialism, Yero stated that tens of thousands of Nigerien people participated in the demonstrations: “The people fully support to the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland. If the public has to pay the price, they are ready to do so. Because we do not accept that no one, neither the Economic Community of West African States, nor France or the USA imposes pressure on the rulers of Niger.”
“Russia respects our sovereignty”
Yero explained why the Nigerien demonstrators were carrying the Russian flag:
“France’s attitude towards Africa and Niger brings us closer to Russia, because Russia respects the independence and sovereignty of African countries while helping them. When you look at France, you see that it assassinates presidents and statesmen who oppose them and act in the interests of their country. Paris tries to remove such politicians from government.”
“We know that without Russia, despite the support of the people of Niger, France would overthrow the new administration in Niger”, said Yero and continued:
“We need the support of Türkiye, Russia, China and India. Look, they cut off our electricity today. We need to protect our economy. We need the help of these countries so that we can resist. It is a matter of independence for us.”
They are using terror
Stating that Niger has rich uranium and gold resources, Yero pointed out that this wealth does not benefit the people, but only the ruling class and the imperialist powers that have turned Niger into a great military base. The Nigerien journalist stated that European countries set up military bases in the Sahel region using the jihadist terrorism as an excuse, but they did not fight terrorism – they only use it as an excuse.
Support of Burkina Faso and Mali is vital
Pointing out that terrorism mostly affects Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso today, Yero said: “Mali is well-armed today and is fighting terrorism effectively. The Burkina army is also getting stronger. As such, the terrorists shifted to Niger, because Niger has become the weak link in the chain.”
Emphasizing that it is a great chance for Niger that these three states will fight together to neutralize the terrorists today, Yero reminded of his country’s statement to consider any attack against Burkina Faso and Mali a declaration of war against Niger. Yero added: “Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso – The cooperation of the three countries is indispensable for the fight against terrorism. But France has previously prevented these three countries from coming together.” said.
Call for cooperation
The Nigerien journalist also sent a message to the Turkish Nation, referring to Türkiye’s war of independence:
“We are brothers with the Turkish Nation. Türkiye is not an invading country that lives on the backs of others. Türkiye fought to stay up. So today we decided to fight to stand on our own feet. We need Türkiye to help us in our struggle.”
“We do not live in a wild forest”
Emphasizing that they will not accept the exploitation system, Yero continued as follows:
“We do not accept in the 21. Century that another country, just because it is stronger than us, plunders our resources, enslaves us and determines our leaders. We do not live in a wild forest. We live in a civilized world where people have the freedom to choose. When the US and France talk about democracy, they talk about democracy for themselves. They think we are inferior people to be ruled. We do not accept this. We need the support of the peoples of Türkiye, China and Russia to ensure our sovereignty.”
Yero concluded by emphasizing, “we will fight”.
France is literally and officially expelled
The Niger National Council for the Protection of the Homeland canceled military agreements with France. French soldiers are requested to leave Niger within a month. Military agreements with France in Mali were terminated 8 months after the new administration came to power, in Burkina Faso 4 months later, and in Niger a week later. The National Council also banned the broadcasting activity of French state channels “France24” and “ RFI” in Niger.
Aiming also at the US
Unlike Mali and Burkina Faso, in Niger, besides France the USA is also being directly targeted. The US preparations for a military operation against Niger caused great anger in the country. Along with France, the US Embassy was also taken under protection during the 3 August Niger Independence demonstrations. The presence of the USA in the country is considered as the reflection of its presence in Nigeria. The USA has 1100 soldiers in Niger.
The governments of Mali and Burkina Faso, which declared that the attack to be made in Niger, “we consider it a cause of war”, started the shipment of military vehicles to Niger. He purges the cadres of Mohammed Bazum at the National Council in Niger. The administration first dismissed its ambassadors in France, the United States, Nigeria, and Togo.
Deposed President Bazum’s article in the Washington Post was considered a confession explaining why the coup took place. Bazum said, “If the coup succeeds in Niger, the entire Sahel will come under Russian influence,” targeting the “decision of the Army-Nation Alliance of Mali and Burkina Faso to ensure the integrity of the state and to fight separatist and jihadist terrorism.” The economy of the country, which is rich in minerals, especially uranium and gold, and has great water resources such as the Niger River, is, in Bazum’s words, “40 percent of Niger’s budget is aided by foreign states.”