On 26 July, one day after Niger’s presidential guard detained democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum, the army command endorsed the coup orchestrated by Abdourahmane Tchiani who, while declaring himself the leader of the newly established military junta, claimed that economic hardship, corruption and deteriorating security had made such move necessary (Schotte, 2023). After seizing power, the junta started to crack down on key political figures and fundamental freedoms: on 30 July, it arrested the ministers of petroleum, education and mines, as well as the ruling party’s head (Mednick, 2023). Meanwhile, junta spokesman Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane banned the use of social media to spread content which would allegedly harm national security (Mednick, 2023).
The MENA and Sahel regions are suffering from climate-induced phenomena that are accelerating societal tensions and translating into insecurity. These regions are safe havens for violent extremism and non-state actors, who easily recruit young men willing to engage in behavioural radicalisation to sustain their families. Whilst in Syria, ISIS has been weaponizing water and resources to intimidate populations and coerce their enemies, in the Lake Chad Basin Boko Haram is recruiting members of local communities deprived of their harvest and fishing due to climate unpredictability and the disruption of the water cycle. Foreign actors, as well as regional authorities, should act now to revitalise the ecosystem, educate local communities, empower the youth and women, and frame strategic responses against terrorist activities.