Niger joins the growing list of Sahelian nations ruled by the military
Niger joins the growing list of Sahelian nations ruled by the military

Nigeria: This week, mutinous soldiers in Niger toppled President Mohamed Bazoum's democratically elected administration, adding to the Sahel region of West Africa's growing list of military regimes and sparking concerns about possible regional instability.

Islamic extremist violence is on the rise in the Sahel, a vast arid region south of the Sahara Desert. As a result, people there are turning against elected governments.

Similar tactics have been used by the military to seize power: the coup leaders accuse the government of falling short of the public's expectations for democratisation benefits. To address those issues, they promise to usher in a new democratic government, but nothing happens for a while.

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The military governments, according to Karim Manuel, a west and central Africa analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, threaten to undo democratic advancements made throughout West Africa, not just in the Sahel region.

"This makes the situation on the ground much more volatile and unpredictable in the future and increases political instability. These coups undermine regional stability, according to Manuel.

Senegal, Gambia, Mauritania, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria make up the Sahel region.

The following Sahel nations have military governments:

MALI: The most recent wave of coups in the Sahel began in Mali in August 2020 when soldiers under Col. Assimi Goita overthrew democratically elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Within 18 months, the military was supposed to return power to civilian rule. But after the transition had been going on for seven months, the military fired the interim leader and prime minister they had chosen and swore in Goita to lead the new administration.
Voters in Mali cast ballots in a referendum on a new constitution last month, which the government claims will pave the way for fresh elections in 2024.

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BURKINA FASO: Around eight months after Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba assisted in the overthrow of the democratically elected President Roch Marc Kaboré earlier in the year, Burkina Faso experienced its second coup.
While a national assembly made up of military officers, representatives from civil society, and representatives from traditional and religious institutions approved a new constitution for the West African nation, Capt. Ibrahim Traore was named as its interim leader.
By July 2024, the junta wants to hold elections to reestablish democratic rule in the nation.

SUDAN: In October 2021, soldiers overthrew Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok's transitional government and the Sovereign Council, a body that divided power between military officers and civilians. This marked the beginning of military rule in Sudan.
That took place nearly two years after soldiers overthrew longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir amid deadly protests, just weeks before the military was supposed to hand the council's leadership to civilians.
Fighting broke out between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) 18 months after the coup, amid hopes for a democratic transition. Numerous people have died as a result of the conflict, and an end is not in sight.

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CHAD: Since President Idriss Deby, who ruled Chad for more than 30 years, was killed fighting rebels in the country's severely affected north in April 2021, Chad has been governed by the military.
With an 18-month transitional period in place for the nation to return to democracy, his son, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Deby, unlawfully assumed power and was named the interim head of state.
By the end of the 18-month period, the government had added two more years to Deby's contract, which led to unrest that the military put down.

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