Julia Johnson
Mon, Aug 7, 2023 8:35 AM

Nigerian Military Junta Turns to Russian Mercenaries for Support in Power Struggle

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Nigerian Military Junta Turns to Russian Mercenaries for Support in Power Struggle
The military junta in Niger has sought the assistance of Russian mercenary group Wagner as the deadline approaches for the release of the country's deposed president. This move comes amidst the threat of military intervention by the regional West African bloc ECOWAS. The request was made during a visit by coup leader General Salifou Mody to neighboring Mali, where he reportedly contacted someone from Wagner. The junta is seeking their support as a guarantee to stay in power. There have been reports suggesting that the junta also sought Wagner's help in Mali.

The military junta in Niger, which recently seized power, has reached out to Russian mercenary group Wagner for support amidst mounting pressure from both domestic and international actors. The request for assistance was made by coup leader General Salifou Mody during his visit to neighboring Mali, where he reportedly met with someone from Wagner.

The situation in Niger has escalated as the deadline set by the regional West African bloc ECOWAS approaches. The bloc has demanded the release and reinstatement of the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, who is currently described as a hostage.

Wassim Nasr, a journalist and senior researcher at the Soufan Center, revealed that three Malian sources and a French diplomat confirmed the meeting between General Salifou Mody and the Wagner representative. Nasr suggests that the junta sees Wagner as their guarantee to retain power and minimize the risk of military intervention by ECOWAS.

While the details of the junta's request to Wagner remain unclear, it is evident that they are seeking external support to maintain their grip on power. The increasing pressure from ECOWAS and the impending threat of military intervention leaves the junta with limited options.

The ECOWAS defense chiefs finalized a plan for intervention, urging member states' military forces to prepare resources in response to the junta's refusal to release President Mohamed Bazoum. However, the Nigerian Senate has advised President Bazoum, who is also the current ECOWAS President, to explore alternative solutions to restore democracy in Niger, emphasizing the existing cordial relationship between Nigerians and the people of Niger.

The involvement of Russian mercenaries from Wagner adds a new dimension to the power struggle in Niger. Wagner has gained notoriety for its involvement in various conflicts around the world, including Ukraine, Syria, and Libya. Their presence in Niger could further complicate the situation and potentially undermine ECOWAS's efforts to resolve the crisis peacefully.

The junta's request for support from Wagner in Mali also raises concerns about the potential expansion of Russian influence in the region. The presence of Wagner mercenaries could have far-reaching implications not only for Niger but also for the neighboring countries.

The international community continues to closely monitor the situation in Niger, with many urging a peaceful resolution and the restoration of democratic governance. The coming days will be critical in determining the outcome of the power struggle and the future of Niger.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-07 News

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