Supporters of Niger coup rally for mass action against regional military threat

Amidst rising tensions in the aftermath of the July 2023 coup against President Mohamed Bazoum, supporters of the Nigerien junta are urging citizens to mobilize against the potential military intervention by a West African regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Despite the junta’s apparent willingness to engage in dialogue, the situation is escalating, marked by a delayed meeting of ECOWAS military chiefs of staff. The ECOWAS bloc had set an ultimatum to restore democracy in Niger after the coup but has not yet deployed its “standby force.” As the crisis unfolds, Niger faces increasing sanctions while the coup representatives seek support from the region, amidst a backdrop of broader instability in the Sahel region plagued by coups and jihadist insurgency.

A civic society group in Niamey, Niger, is advocating for mass mobilization in support of the coup. This group, known as the Volunteers for the Defence of Niger, is collaborating with mutinous officers to organize mass demonstrations and gather support for their cause. They aim to enlist tens of thousands of volunteers nationwide to stand by the country’s armed forces. A founder of the group, Amsarou Bako, stated that readiness is essential for any potential developments.