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Niger Coup: Bazoum warns of a rebound in terrorism

Niger Coup: Bazoum warns of a rebound in terrorism
Mohamed Bazoum, takes part in a session entitled "The Power of Education" on the   -  
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Tolga Akmen/AFP or licensors


In the columns of the Washington Post, for his first public statement since the coup d'etat in Niger, deposed President Mohamed Bazoum expresses his concern at the risk of a rebound in terrorism and a region placed "under Russian influence" if the putsch was successful.

"I am writing this as a hostage. Niger is under attack by a military junta trying to overthrow our democracy, and I am just one of the citizens who by the hundreds have been arbitrarily and illegally imprisoned", begins Mohamed Bazoum, sequestered in his presidential residence since the military coup of July 26, in this column published Thursday evening on the site of the American daily.

If the coup "succeeds, it will have devastating consequences for our country, our region and the whole world", predicts Mr Bazoum. "_ With the green light from the instigators of the putsch and their regional allies, the whole of the central Sahel region could come under Russian influence via the Wagner group, whose brutal terrorism has been clearly exposed in Ukraine", continues the democratically elected president in 2021.

"International aid represents 40% of our national budget, but it will not be delivered if the putsch succeeds," he warns. "The putschists made false claims that they acted to preserve Niger's security (...) In fact, the security situation in Niger has radically improved," said Mr. Bazoum.

"In the south, where we face the terrorist group Boko Haram, there have been almost no attacks in two years, and refugees are returning to their villages... In the north and west of the country, we have not yet suffered any major attack since I was elected in 2021”, proclaims the overthrown president.

"Thanks to our allies and the training of our partners (...) the country has never been so safe in 15 years", he greets, still addressing a criticism to Mali and Burkina, which " support the illegal putsch” and “employ criminal mercenaries like the Wagner group” to “address security issues” rather than “enhance their own capabilities”.

"ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States, editor's note) has announced unprecedented sanctions, including a ban on oil exports and imports, and the suspension of cross-border financial transactions".

“These measures already show what the future would look like under an autocratic junta with no vision or reliable allies. The price of rice has already climbed 40% between Sunday and Tuesday, and several neighbourhoods have already reported shortages of goods and electricity. “, laments Mohamed Bazoum.

"In the troubled Sahel region, in the midst of authoritarian movements that have taken hold among some of our neighbours, Niger is the last bastion for the respect of rights", referring once again to Mali and Burkina, also led by putschist soldiers.

"Boko Haram and other terrorist movements will undoubtedly take advantage of the instability in Niger, using our country as a relay territory to attack neighbouring countries and undermine peace, security and freedom in the world".

"I call on the U.S. government and the entire international community to help restore constitutional order. Fighting for our shared values, including democratic pluralism and respect for the rule of law, is the only way to make lasting progress against poverty and terrorism. The people of Niger will never forget your support at this pivotal moment in our history. "

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