| 5 December 2023, Tuesday |

Niger’s coup leader General Tchiani: The ex-UN peacekeeper who seized power

General Abdourahmane Tchiani, who previously worked in peacekeeping missions in war-torn nations, has now precipitated a huge crisis in West Africa by conducting a coup in Niger.

He was the commander of Niger’s presidential guard until he emerged from the shadows to topple the man he was tasked with guarding, President Mohamed Bazoum, who he was tasked with defending.

Gen Tchiani named himself the leader of the National Council for the Defense of the Homeland, the military junta he established after seizing power on July 26.

Meanwhile, his old employer gets detained at home. Mr Bazoum has had infrequent phone communication with world leaders, but he is otherwise isolated.

So far, Gen Tchiani has refused all offers of compromise. He has kept most international envoys at away, but on Wednesday he granted an audience to Nigeria’s ex-central bank governor and former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi.

During her visit to Niger on Monday, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was unable to meet with the 62-year-old general.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) delegation only made it to the airport.

The junta postponed a planned second joint mission by Ecowas, African Union (AU), and United Nations (UN) envoys set for Wednesday.

Gen Tchiani is undoubtedly living up to his image as obstinate and reserved.

He was not at the huge rally the junta organized in Niger’s capital Niamey on Sunday. He has only appeared on TV on three occasions since the coup, and has spoken twice – once to present himself as Niger’s new leader and once to make an Independence Day address.