After a coup, Niger’s Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani became president.
He headed the presidential guards that kidnapped the president on Wednesday.
This disrupts Niger’s first peaceful and democratic transition since independence in 1960.
President Mohamed Bazoum is well and held captive by his guards.
Western nations counted on him to confront Islamist militants in the region.
The African Union, Ecowas, EU, and UN all criticized the coup.
The Wagner mercenary group’s chief reportedly praised the coup as a success.
“What happened in Niger is nothing other than the struggle of the people of Niger with their colonisers,” Yevgeny Prigozhin said on a Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel.
The BBC cannot verify his alleged comments.
Niger coup weakens unstable region
African military coups?
Former President Mahamadou Issoufou elevated Gen Tchiani, 62, to general in 2018.
He denied involvement in a 2015 coup attempt against the ex-president in court.
Gen. Tchiani stated his junta took over due to Niger’s insecurity, economic issues, and corruption in a televised address.
Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso have all been overthrown by coups in recent years, including Niger’s.
Ecowas leadership also suffers. President Bola Tinubu, the bloc’s head, warned two weeks ago that West African terrorism and coups had reached alarming proportions and required quick, coordinated action.
It’s unclear which nations the incoming leader will support. After coups, Burkina Faso and Mali, Niger’s neighbors, have turned to Moscow.