THE United Nations (UN) says it will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Niger Republic despite the military coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday, July 26.
The development has resulted in sanctions from international bodies and escalated tensions in the West African country.
According to the UN Acting Resident Humanitarian Coordinator, Ms Nicole Kouassi, humanitarian operations, development support and peace programmes have continued even after the coup.
She said this while briefing journalists on Friday, July 28, in New York on the humanitarian situation in Niger.
Nigerien soldiers announced that they had overthrown Bazoum late on Wednesday, hours after presidential guards detained the President at his official residence. In a statement broadcast on national television, Amadou Abdramane, a Colonel-Major, Major, said “the defence and security forces have decided to put an end to the regime you are familiar with”.
Regional leaders, blocs, and supranational organisations have condemned the coup.
On Friday, the European Union criticised the coup. It warned that any abuse of the fundamental rights of the ousted leader would meet dire consequences with the suspension of support for the troubled country.
The United Nations also condemned the coup and indicated that it would halt humanitarian operations in the Sahel country to express its displeasure with the coup.
However, Kouassi said the UN would continue to provide aid given the difficult situation in Niger, where 4.3 million people, mainly women and children, were already dependent on support before the power grab.
“Some 3.3 million are facing food insecurity, while a $534 million appeal is just over 30 per cent funded.
“All the humanitarian partners and development partners remain engaged and committed to supporting the vulnerable population of Niger who are affected by a combination of climate issues, economic and security shocks in the context of very high humanitarian and development needs,” she said.
Kouassi added that the UN and international aid groups have not stopped delivering amid the crisis. However, UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights have been temporarily suspended because the air space and territorial borders are closed.
Meanwhile, the Nigerien military leader behind the detention of the country’s democratically elected president, Omar Tchiani, has become the new head of state.
Tchiani, the head of the presidential guards since 2011, appeared on state television on Friday, saying he was the “President of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland” and warning that any foreign military intervention would lead to chaos.