Political and security situation in Niger: Where is the transition heading? Spécial

Source : Sahel weather

Download the full Sahel weather report 

A number of events marked the news in Niger in April 2024. Firstly, the Nigerien justice system ordered the release of Abdourahamane Ben Hamaye, a journalist who had worked with former president Mohamed Bazoum, and of Mohamed Mbarek, cousin of the president's wife Mohamed Bazoum. These two men had been detained since last autumn for their alleged involvement in an escape attempt by the former president, and were accused of plotting against the authority of the State. The interim relief judge put an end to their custody by ordering their release, subject to a financial penalty in the event of delay.

Niger then confronted Algeria about the violence that occurred during the refoulement of West African migrants from Algeria to Niger. The Nigerien government summoned the Algerian ambassador in Niamey to protest against these actions, which it described as violent. Since 2014, thousands of irregular migrants have been turned back from Algeria to Niger, a country considered a transit point to Europe.

In addition, the ruling military junta dissolved the local authority councils elected at the end of 2020, without providing any explanation. Soldiers, police officers and civilians have been appointed to run the communities, with the capital Niamey now under the leadership of an army colonel, replacing the previous civilian mayor.

In a tense security context, a terrorist attack near the border with Mali claimed the lives of six Nigerien soldiers, killed by a bomb blast. In response, the Nigerien army carried out air strikes against the terrorists involved.

The former president's son, Mohamed Bazoum, left Togo for Dubai to continue his studies. He had been detained with his parents for over five months at the presidential residence in Niamey, and was granted provisional liberty by the Niamey military court.

Finally, in Agadez, home to an air base used by the United States, hundreds of people demonstrated to demand the departure of American soldiers from Niger. The demonstration follows Washington's acceptance of the Nigerien authorities' request to withdraw US troops from the country. Discussions on the withdrawal of US troops began between the USA and Niger, in response to the Nigerien government's denunciation of the military cooperation agreement with the USA.