A military coup in Niger has faced strong condemnation from the African Union, West African countries, and the United Nations Security Council.
In late July, the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, was taken hostage by his own Presidential Guard. Following this, General Abdourahamane Tchiani proclaimed himself as the nation's leader.
In a televised address after seizing power, General Tchiani stated that his actions were driven by concerns about the country's failure to combat terrorism.
Reports suggest that President Bazoum is in good health. The President of the neighboring country Chad, in separate meetings, posted photos on Facebook with both Bazoum and Tchiani.
Niger, a land-locked nation in West Africa, ranks third-last on the UN's Human Development Index, making it one of the world's poorest nations. It gained independence from France in 1960 and has experienced numerous coups in its history, but democratic elections have been in place since 2011.
Bazoum was elected President in 2021, surviving an attempted coup just hours before taking office.
He strongly supports Western alliances and has advocated for the deployment of French and U.S. troops in Niger to combat terrorist groups such as Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram, all of which are active in the region.
There has been some public discontent about the presence of foreign troops, along with economic difficulties and instability caused by terrorist activities.
In recent years, several countries in the region, including Niger's neighbors Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad, have experienced military coups.
Mali and Burkina Faso have strengthened ties with Russia under their new military administrations, with Mali working alongside Russia's Wagner mercenary force. There are indications that Niger's military administration could also take a similar direction.
There have been widespread demonstrations in favor of the coup in Niger, with some individuals waving Russian flags in the country's capital. Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin welcomed Niger's coup as "the struggle of the people of Niger against colonizers."
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union, and the UN Security Council have all called for President Bazoum's reinstatement.
The UN Security Council expressed concern that the coup could have adverse effects on terrorism and exacerbate the country's dire socio-economic situation.