The US State Department is reportedly preparing to formally classify the military takeover of power in Niger as a coup d’état in the upcoming week, as stated by three US officials cited by media reports. This designation could carry substantial consequences for US collaboration with Niger, which is a crucial partner in the fight against terrorism in the West African region. Reports indicate that the US intends to announce the suspension of specific forms of aid to Niger, a decision confirmed by an official and another individual familiar with the discussions.
The US embassy in Niger will remain operational, and US military forces will maintain their legal presence in the country, the officials reportedly said.
However, the Pentagon is evaluating how this change will affect the approximately 1,000 US troops stationed in Niger. It is reportedly possible that some of these troops will likely be transitioning to a more limited role in intelligence gathering.
US State Department spokesperson said, “As we continue our diplomatic engagements to preserve civilian rule in Niger we are continuing to assess additional next steps but have nothing to preview at this time.”
The US administration may continue providing essential, life-saving assistance while suspending other forms of aid to the Nigerien government. Nigerien military leaders seized power by overthrowing the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, in July.
However, the US had refrained from formally labeling the event as a coup, as doing so would trigger restrictions on certain foreign aid to Niger, particularly security assistance funding.