Hundreds Gather In Niger Capital For Pro-Coup Rally

People backing coup in Niger gathered for a mass rally.

3rd August 2023 11:34 AM

Hundreds of people backing the coup in Niger gathered Thursday for a mass rally in Niamey the capital of the country, as some brandished giant Russian flags.

The demonstrators converged at Independence Square in the heart of the city, following a call by a coalition of civil society associations on a day marking the country's 1960 independence from France.

Junta supporters in Niger told reporters that France failed to shield them from the jihadists, whereas, stressing that Russia would be a stronger ally.

One of the demonstrators, Issiaka Hamadou, said that it was "only security that interests us," irrespective of whether it came from "Russia, China, Turkey, if they want to help us."

"We just don't want the French, who have been looting us since 1960 - they've been there ever since and nothing has changed," he said.

France has some 1,500 troops in Niger in a bid to  fight against jihadism in the Sahel.

"I have no job after studying in this country, because of the regime (of Bazoum), which is supported by France," said one student who only gave his first name Oumar. "All that has to go!"

The coup has triggered alarm bells in Western countries struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency that flared in northern Mali in 2012, which advanced into Niger and Burkina Faso three years later and now threatens the borders of fragile states on the Gulf of Guinea.