Niger: “Hostage”, President Bazoum calls on the international community for help from a podium

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crisis Mohamed Bazoum warns the world of the “devastating” consequences of the putsch in the face of Russia's growing influence in the Sahel

< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/nigernbsp-nbspotagenbsp-le-president-bazoum-calls-the-international-community-to-help-in-a-tribune-fb95d7c.jpg" alt= "Niger: “Hostage”, President Bazoum calls on the international community for help in a tribune" />

(FILES) Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum meets with the French Foreign and Armies ministers during their official visit to Niamey on July 15, 2022. Access to the residence and offices of Niger President Mohamed Bazoum were blocked off Wednesday by members of the elite Presidential Guard, a source close to Bazoum said, although the reason was unclear. (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP) — BERTRAND GUAY AFP

The coup in Niger could have “devastating consequences” for the world and bring the Sahel region under “influence” of Russia, via the mercenaries of the Wagner group, writes the president-elect Mohamed Bazoum in a column published Thursday evening in the Washington Post, as the putschists promised an “immediate response” to “any assault” of the Community Economy of West African States (ECOWAS),

Therefore, “I call on the US government and the entire community international to help to restore constitutional order,” adds President Bazoum in a first long public statement since he was reversed July 26 by putschist soldiers.

“I am writing this to; title of hostage, launches the sequestered president since his government was reversed on July 26 by putchist soldiers. “This coup (…) has no justification and if successful it will have devastating consequences for our country, our region and the whole world,” -he.

“In the troubled region of the Sahel, in the midst of authoritarian movements that have taken hold among some of our neighbours, Niger is the last bastion for the respect of rights,” continues Bazoum in this text published in English.

“ Russian Influence”

Neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, also ruled by the military “employ criminal mercenaries like the Wagner Group” to “address security issues” rather than “reinforce their own capabilities”.

However, “the entire central Sahel region could come under Russian influence via the Wagner group whose brutal terrorism was clearly stated in Ukraine”, continues Mr. Bazoum democratically elected in 2021.

An organization linked to the Wagner group broadcast recently an alleged message leader of these mercenaries, Evguéni Prigojine, who affirms that the putsch in Niger was part of the “fight against the colonizers”. And young people favorable to the putschists sported in the streets of the capital Niamey Russian flags.

American officials, however, say they have “no indication” of Wagner’s involvement in the events in Niger, but fear that these mercenaries, established in Mali and suspected of being so in neighboring Burkina Faso, are trying to take advantage of the situation.

“This coup must stop and the junta must release all those it detains illegally,” the future of his country “under an autocratic junta with no vision and no reliable allies.