Nearly a week after a military takeover in Niger, uncertainty remains about who is truly in charge.
Hundreds of European nationals gathered yesterday at the airport in the country’s capital for an evacuation flight, as the coup threatened to set off a regional conflict.
The leaders of Mali and Burkina Faso both of whom also seized power in military coups have backed the soldiers behind the coup in Niger, said Declan Walsh, The Times’s chief Africa correspondent. Their own seizures “led to their suspension from the Economic Community of West African States,” he said. “That bloc threatened on Sunday to lead a military intervention in Niger unless the ousted president was returned to office.”
It’s unclear if either side is serious about going to war, but this signals how divided West Africa is. “There are 1,500 French troops and 1,100 American troops in Niger; what happens to them is at the heart of Western calculations over the crisis,” Declan said.