You are currently viewing The Sahel Crisis – What is Happening in Niger? A First Look

The Sahel Crisis – What is Happening in Niger? A First Look

Written by Matilde Castoldi

Edited by Christopher Amrobo Enemuwe

Supervised by Cansu Macit Karaduman

This first InfoFlash in a series of two explores the latest developments in Niger and in the Sahel region in general.

On 26 July 2023, the military seized power in Niger. General Abdourahamane Tchiani, leader of the Presidential Guard, declared himself head of state, completing the second coup d’état that the country has seen in the last decade, and the fifth since its independence. Four days later, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued a one-week ultimatum to the junta: they demanded that President Mohamed Bazoum be restored to power, threatening to impose sanctions and to “use military force in Niger if necessary” (Raube, 2023). Although the junta promptly rejected ECOWAS’ demands, there has yet to be any military intervention; sanctions, however, were imposed, and include the suspension of all commercial transactions with Niger and of all financial assistance with regional development banks, as well as the freezing of Niger’s state assets in the Central Bank of West African States and state enterprises in commercial banks (Felix & Miridzhanian, 2023). Additionally, as a result of ECOWAS’ threat to invade Niger, on 16 September, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger signed a mutual defence pact—the Liptako-Gourma Charter—establishing the Alliance of Sahel States (Le Monde with AFP, 2023).