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Niger coup d'état was not a surprise, says analyst

Supporters of Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum   -  
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The coup d'état in Niger did not come as a surprise to some political some analysts and observers. 

As the only G5 Sahel country, along with Mauritania, not governed by a military regime, Niger has been somewhat isolated.

Add to that a cocktail of insecurity and corruption and it was only a matter of time, says analyst Garba Moussa. 

"Since February there have been hints of a coup d'état, but we didn't know where it would come from," he explains. 

"Today we have seen that it was from inside the presidential guard. Mutinous elements detained the president.

"So, for the other units, like the national guard and the special forces, this is what they were waiting for to take power."

Another probable cause, according to Moussa, is the pressure put on Niamey, the capital, which is more vulnerable to jihadist attacks.

"Of the 3 countries, Mali and Niger, our capital is much closer to insecure areas like the Tilabéri region and others.

"As a result, there is pressure from the population or from refugees in Niamey. 

"We also have relatives who are forced to move from their usual areas of residence to areas where they have no homes, no economic power, and this leads to weariness among the population in general."

After Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, some that the coup is a symptom of a backward slide in democracy.  But Moussa suggests this may not be the case, when considering the corruption and poor governance that have been denounced for years. 

Young people and rural areas are paying the price, he says. 

"On the one hand, there are the young people who have no jobs and no hope.  On the other, there's rural Niger, which is forced to go and beg in the sub-region.

"So, all in all, there is simply a kind of elite that has monopolised economic power without any thought of redistributing income.

"So in my opinion, any change at some point will give us hope."

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