Niger’s constitution dissolved in military coup as ECOWAS sues for peace

NIGERIEN soldiers have announced a successful coup on national television, dissolving the country’s constitution, suspending all institutions, and closing its borders to prevent external intervention.

The coup led by Amadou Abdramane, a Colonel-Major, is the sixth in West Africa since August 2020.

Flanked by uniformed soldiers, Abdramane cited worsening security conditions and economic challenges as reasons for the coup, and declared the end of the existing regime.

Abdramane announced that all day-to-day business would be managed by ministry heads. He also imposed a night curfew on the country.

The successful coup in Niger has sent shockwaves through the West African subregion and sparked widespread international condemnation, with ECOWAS sending President Patrice Talon of Benin to mediate the crisis.

ECOWAS is determined to uphold democratic norms and constitutional order in its member states, expressing its commitment to democratic principles.

“It should be quite clear to all players in the Republic of Niger that the leadership of the ECOWAS Region and all lovers of democracy around the world will not tolerate any situation that incapacitates the democratically-elected government of the country,” the regional bloc said in a statement on Wednesday.

President Mohamed Bazoum’s detention at the hands of the military also prompted a swift response from the international community.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, called for Bazoum’s immediate release, vowing unwavering support, just as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered the UN’s full backing.

Niger’s fragile democratic progress since independence

Niger has a long history of political instability, marked by coups and attempted coups. The country has struggled to establish a stable democratic system since gaining independence from France in 1960.

    Wednesday’s successful coup adds to the nation’s turbulent political past and raises concerns about the sustainability of democratic institutions.

    Nigeriens took to the streets in support of Bazoum on Wednesday, but heavily armed forces loyal to the coup leaders fired shots to disperse the crowds.

    The coup has left the nation on edge, uncertain about its political trajectory, even as the dissolution of the constitution threatens to roll back the progress made towards good governance and democratic principles.

    With two Islamist insurgencies at play, Niger faces significant security challenges and there are fears that the coup could further hamper the nation’s ability to address these issues effectively.

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