Bazoum: the democratic resistance of the deposed president in Niger

A week after the announcement of the coup, the Nigerian president Mohamed Bazoum continues to resist the renunciation of power that the polls gave him in February 2021. Despite being detained for several days by the protagonists of the revolt, Bazoum did not hesitate to express himself clearly and courageously in favor of the democratic process underway in Niger – the first since 1960 – until its abrupt interruption on July 26 and against the plotter coup themselves.

In a message published on the social network X – the former Twitter –, Bazoum, the first democratically elected president in his country, assured on Thursday, the day after the announcement of the coup, that “the conquests obtained with so much effort will be safeguarded”. “All Nigerians who love democracy and freedom will want that,” she said.

This Monday, the first images of Bazoum emerged since he was arrested by coup plotters on Tuesday night, and the ousted president – if nothing prevents him – reappeared smiling to meet the head of Chad’s transitional military council. Mahamat Idriss Deby –who postulated himself as mediator between the new coup authorities and Bazoum–, in Niamey.

Bazoum, born 63 years ago in the Diffa region in the southeast of the country, e representative of the Nigerian Arab minority, studied philosophy in Senegal; among other political positions, such as the president of the executive of the Nigerian Party for Democracy and Socialism – of which he is the founder–, he was Minister of the Interior and Foreign Affairs on two occasions between the 90s of the last century and the second of the current one.

At least nominally, Bazoum account after the coup with the support of all major multilateral institutions, from the United Nations to the African Union, via ECOWAS, as well as the main powers, with the United States and France at the forefront. The US State Department revealed Antony Blinken’s support phone call to Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday.

Close associate of the West In the fight against terrorism and irregular immigration in the Sahel and West Africa, Paris had made Niger, chaired by Mohamed Bazoum, the center of its regional strategy after the double setback suffered in Mali and Burkina Faso.

It is not the first time that the president has suffered a coup. On March 31, 2021, just days before he was to be sworn in as head of state following his victory in the February presidential election, a group of soldiers opened fire on the presidential palace with the intention of seizing power. One of the key men then when it came to thwarting the 2021 coup attempt was General Tchiani, now self-proclaimed president of the National Council for the Protection of the Homeland, the name of the coup junta.

Omar Tchiani was, therefore, decorated and confirmed in his post as head of the Presidential Guard, which he held since 2011. However, in recent times he may have fallen out of favor with President Bazoum, who according to some hypotheses , Among her immediate plans was to relieve him of his duties as the head of a unit consisting of approximately 2,000 soldiers.

Despite the fact that until now and since 2011 the head of the Presidential Guard he used the “permanent degradation of security” to justify the coupthe reality is that Bazoum’s service in the fight against terrorism and irregular immigration in one of the world’s poorest countries is more than favorable to Europe’s security interests.

According to data from the British weekly The Economist, More than 10,000 people have died between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger consequence of the armed action of jihadist groups, led by the regional affiliates of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, but less than a tenth of the human losses that occurred in the country sadly protagonist this last week from the coup.

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