Following the instability in Libya’s southeastern neighbor Sudan over the past 3 months, Libya’s neighbor in the southwest Niger is witnessing military mobilization which has the possibility of developing into a coup attempt.
International media has reported that members of the presidential guard surrounded the office of President “Mohamed Bazoum” and prevented access to him on Wednesday. The events in Niger, which was previously a French colony, have received attention very quickly from French media, with AFP initially reporting that no sounds of gunfire were heard and no military vehicles appeared in the surroundings of the Presidential residence but later reported that Bazoum supporters tried to approach the presidential complex, but were dispersed by members of the Presidential Guard who fired warning shots.
On the other hand, the French newspaper Le Monde reported that President Bazoum and his wife were safe according to a source who was described as a relative of the President’s. The source referenced by Le Monde further claimed that the issue was a dispute with the Presidential Guard and not factually a coup d’état.
The French-language Pan-African news magazine Jeune Afrique quoted military sources that the number of personnel participating in the rebellion is yet to be determined and also reported that negotiations with the soldiers are ongoing.
From his side, Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhanid Dbeibah expresses his concern about the events in Niger and called for an immediate end to the military mobilization that undermine the security and stability of the region. Dbeibah considered the news coming from Niger a source of concern for all neighboring countries and the international community as a whole, stressing on adhering to the principles of the African Union in rejecting unconstitutional changes in governments, and assured his support to the African Union’s call for the return of stability and the restoration of Nigerien democratic institutions.
The borders between Niger and Libya are part of one the mostly used routes in the continent for irregular migration, which is exploited for trafficking migrants from densely populated areas in West Africa. Instability in Niger could mean more security burdens on Libya’s southern borders similar to that which followed the outbreak of violence in Sudan.