Connect with us

POLITICS

Coup in Nigeria’s neighbour, Niger Republic

Published

on

Niger Army spokesman Colonel Major Amadou Adramane speaks during an appearance on national television, after President Mohamed Bazoum was held in the presidential palace, in Niamey, Niger, July 26, 2023 in this still image taken from video. ORTN/via Reuters TV/Handout via REUTERS

Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has been removed from power, according to a group of soldiers who appeared on the West African nation’s national television late on Wednesday, hours after the president was held in the presidential palace.

Reading from a statement, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, seated and flanked by nine other officers, said defence and security forces had decided: “Put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”

Abdramane said Niger’s borders are closed, a nationwide curfew declared, and all institutions of the republic are suspended.

The soldiers warned against any foreign intervention, adding that they will respect Bazoum’s wellbeing.

The military takeover, which marks the seventh coup in the West and Central Africa region since 2020, could further complicate Western efforts to help countries in the Sahel region fight a jihadist insurgency that has spread from Mali over the past decade.

Advertisement

Land-locked Niger, a former French colony, has become a pivotal ally for Western powers seeking to help fight the insurgencies, but they are facing growing acrimony from the new juntas in charge in Mali and Burkina Faso.

Niger is also a key ally of the European Union in the fight against irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa.

France moved troops to Niger from Mali last year after its relations with interim authorities there soured. It has also withdrawn special forces from Burkina Faso amid similar tensions.

Bazoum’s election was the first democratic transition of power in a state that has witnessed four military coups since independence from France in 1960.

The United States says it has spent around $500 million since 2012 to help Niger boost its security. Germany announced in April that it would take part in a three-year European military mission aimed at improving the country’s military.

Advertisement

“Bazoum has been the West’s only hope in the Sahel region. France, the U.S. and the EU have spent much of their resources in the region to bolster Niger and its security forces,” said Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel programme for Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung think-tank.

He said a coup would create an opportunity for Russia and other actors to spread their influence in Niger.

SEVENTH COUP

Early on Wednesday presidential guards, headed by General Omar Tchiani, took over the presidency, prompting regional leaders to organise a swift mediation mission to try to prevent a coup.

Frustrations over state failures to prevent violent attacks on towns and villages have partly spurred two coups in Mali and two in Burkina Faso since 2020. A junta also snatched power in Guinea in 2021, contributing to instability in a region that had begun to shed its reputation as a “coup belt”.

There was a thwarted coup attempt in Niger in March 2021, when a military unit tried to seize the presidential palace days before the recently elected Bazoum was due to be sworn in.

Advertisement

The African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS earlier on Wednesday condemned what they called an attempted coup d’etat.

The president of neighbouring Benin, Patrice Talon, flew into Niger on Wednesday afternoon to assess the situation after meeting with Nigerian President and ECOWAS Chairman Bola Tinubu.

“All means will be used, if necessary, to restore constitutional order in Niger, but the ideal would be for everything to be done in peace and harmony,” Talon told reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The United States urged Bazoum’s release, while the European Union, United Nations, France and others condemned the uprising and said they were following the events with concern.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke with Bazoum on Wednesday when he was being held in the presidential palace, said the U.S. economic and security partnership with Niger depended on the continuation of democratic governance.

Advertisement

-Reuters

 

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

POLITICS

Slain bystander in Trump assasination attempt identified

Published

on

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he is assisted by the Secret Service after gunfire rang out during a campaign rally at the Butler Farm Show in Butler, Pennsylvania, U.S., July 13, 2024. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Donald Trump survived a weekend assassination attempt days before he is due to accept the formal Republican presidential nomination, in an attack that will further inflame the U.S. political divide and has raised questions about the security failures.

Authorities identified a rally attendee who was shot and killed as Corey Comperatore, 50, of Sarver, Pennsylvania, who Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro told reporters was killed when he dove on top of his family to protect them from the hail of bullets.

“Corey was an avid supporter of the former president, and was so excited to be there last night with him in the community,” Shapiro said, adding, “Political disagreements can never, ever be addressed through violence.”

On Saturday, Trump, 78, had just begun a campaign speech in Butler, Pennsylvania, about 30 miles (50 km) north of Pittsburgh, when shots rang out, hitting the former president’s right ear and streaking his face with blood.

“Fight! Fight! Fight!” Trump mouthed to supporters, pumping his fist, as Secret Service agents rushed him away. His campaign said he was doing well and appeared to have suffered no major injury besides a wound on his upper right ear.

Advertisement

The FBI identified 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, as the suspect in what it called an attempted assassination. He was a registered Republican, according to state voter records and had made a $15 donation to a Democratic political action committee at the age of 17.

Law enforcement officials told reporters they had not yet identified a motive for the attack. Both Republicans and Democrats will be looking for evidence of Crooks’ political affiliation as they seek to cast the rival party as representing extremism.

The shooting occurred less than four months before the Nov. 5 election, when Trump faces an election rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden. Most opinion polls including those by Reuters/Ipsos show the two locked in a close contest.

The shooting whipsawed the discussion around the presidential campaign, which had recently focused on whether Biden, 81, should drop out following a disastrous June debate performance.

The Biden campaign had been seeking to reset its message, depicting Trump as a danger to democracy for his continued false claims about election fraud but said on Saturday it was suspending its political advertising for now.

Advertisement

Secret Service agents fatally shot the suspect, the agency said, after he opened fire from the roof of a building about 150 yards (140 m) from the stage where Trump was speaking. An AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle used in the shooting was recovered near his body, according to sources.

The firearm was legally purchased by the suspect’s father, ABC and the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources. Bomb-making materials were found in the suspect’s car, the Associated Press reported, citing sources.

Two other rally attendees were critically wounded, the Secret Service said.

“In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United, and show our True Character as Americans, remaining Strong and Determined, and not allowing Evil to Win,” Trump said on his Truth Social service on Sunday.

The Secret Service in a statement denied accusations by some Trump supporters that it had rejected campaign requests for additional security.

Advertisement

“The assertion that a member of the former President’s security team requested additional security resources that the U.S. Secret Service or the Department of Homeland Security rebuffed is absolutely false,” said Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi in a statement. “In fact, recently the U.S. Secret Service added protective resources and capabilities to the former President’s security detail.”

NEIGHBORS STUNNED

Residents of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, where the alleged shooter lived, expressed shock at the news on Sunday.

“It’s a little crazy to think that somebody that did an assassination attempt is that close, but it just kind of shows the political dynamic that we’re in right now with the craziness on each side,” said Wes Morgan, 42, who added that he rides bikes with his children on the street where the alleged shooter lived. “Bethel Park is a pretty blue-collar type of area. And to think that somebody was that close is a little insane.”

While mass shootings at schools, nightclubs and other public places are a regular feature of American life, the attack was the first shooting of a U.S. president or major party candidate since the 1981 attempted assassination of Republican President Ronald Reagan.

In 2011, Democratic then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded in an attack on a gathering of constituents in Arizona. Republican U.S. Representative Steve Scalise was also badly wounded in a politically motivated 2017 attack on a group of Republican representatives practicing for a charity baseball game.

Advertisement

Giffords later founded a leading gun control organization, Scalise has remained a stalwart defender of gun rights.

Americans fear rising political violence, recent Reuters/Ipsos polling shows, with two out of three respondents to a May survey saying they worried violence could follow the election.

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an attempt to overturn his election defeat, fueled by his false claims that his loss was the result of widespread fraud. About 140 police officers were injured in the violence, four riot participants died that day, one police officer who responded died the following day and four responding officers later died by suicide.

Trump is due to receive his party’s formal nomination at the Republican National Convention, which kicks off in Milwaukee on Monday.

HOUSE TO PROBE SECURITY FAILURE

The shots appeared to come from outside the area secured by the Secret Service, the agency said.

Hours after the attack, the Oversight Committee in the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives summoned Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle to testify at a hearing scheduled for July 22.

Advertisement

Leading Republicans and Democrats quickly condemned the violence, as did foreign leaders.

“There’s no place for this kind of violence in America. We must unite as one nation to condemn it,” Biden said in a statement.

Some of Trump’s Republican allies said they believed the attack was politically motivated.

“For weeks Democrat leaders have been fueling ludicrous hysteria that Donald Trump winning re-election would be the end of democracy in America,” said Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican.

“Clearly we’ve seen far-left lunatics act on violent rhetoric in the past. This incendiary rhetoric must stop.”

Advertisement

Trump began the year facing multiple legal worries, including four separate criminal prosecutions.

He was found guilty in late May of trying to cover up hush money payments to a porn star. But the other three prosecutions he faces — including two for his attempts to overturn his defeat — have been ground to a halt by various factors, including a Supreme Court decision early this month that found him to be partly immune to prosecution.

Trump contends, without evidence, that all four prosecutions have been orchestrated by Biden to try to prevent him from returning to power.

-Reuters

Advertisement
Continue Reading

POLITICS

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI Condemns Attempted Assassination on Trump

Published

on

Former US President Donald Trump is rushed offstage after a shooting at a rally on July 13 in Butler, Pennsylvania.Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has sent a sympathy and solidarity message to former US President, Donald Trump following an assassination attempt targeted at him.

Trump, also a candidate in the US Presidential election was a target on Saturday while he was addressing his supporters during a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania.

According to a Reuters’ report, law enforcement identified the assailant as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.

In this message, His Majesty the King said that he was “shocked and deeply saddened by yesterday’s appalling assassination attempt at the campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania.”

King Mohammed VI

The Sovereign said he was relieved to learn that “you are safe,” while expressing His sympathy and solidarity following this heinous attack.

Advertisement

In this message, His Majesty the King strongly condemns political violence and wishes Trump “a speedy recovery so that you may continue to serve your great nation.”

Continue Reading

POLITICS

King Mohammed VI Invites Tinubu To Morocco –

Published

on

1678458348_816_52e605f5-tinubu-and-mohammed-vi.png

Morocco’s monarch, King Mohammed VI has invited Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu to Morocco after having a telephone conversation with the Nigerian leader. According to a statement  during a phone exchange that took place today.

A statement from the royal palace said that the two leaders discussed the development of bilateral relations between Morocco and Nigeria over the past few years.

The discussion also covered the African-Atlantic Gas Pipeline, which is a structuring project between Nigeria and Morocco that will be a strategic lever for regional integration and socio-economic development for all West African countries.

Initiated in 2016 first by King Mohammed VI and former president of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari, the pipeline aims to promote regional integration and reinforce Africa’s energy security. Morocco is set to host over 1600 kilometers of the project, which is 5,600 kilometers long in total.

King Mohammed VI has frequently emphasized the importance of the project, reiterating Morocco’s commitment to the pipeline project with Nigeria.In November 2023, during a speech the King gave commemorating the Green March, he stressed the potential benefits that the pipeline could bring not only to Africa but also to Europe.

Advertisement




“The Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline  strategic project is part of that endeavor,” he said, referring to the purpose of the project; to promote regional integration and boost economic growth.
The pipeline is set to connect over 11 countries in the region to benefit from Nigerian gas sources.
Many countries have endorsed the project, including Senegal.

Continue Reading

Most Viewed