Situation in Niger After Military Coup
On July 26, Niger's presidential guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum. The guard's commander, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, proclaimed himself the country's new leader.

UN, Humanitarian Groups Urge Exemptions to Niger Sanctions to Safeguard Population's Health

© AFP 2023 MICHELE CATTANIPeople are seen in the Concorde square of Agadez, as they prepare to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, the muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, in Agadez, northern Niger, on April 21, 2023.
People are seen in the Concorde square of Agadez, as they prepare to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr, the muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, in Agadez, northern Niger, on April 21, 2023.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 31.08.2023
On July 26, a coup took place in Niger, in which President Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guard, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani. In response to the developments in Niger, the regional economic bloc ECOWAS imposed a package of sanctions and closed its borders with the landlocked nation.
The United Nations (UN) and a number of humanitarian groups are appealing to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to allow exemptions to the sanctions imposed on Niger following the July 26 military coup.
According to the humanitarian organizations, these sanctions are beginning to pose a threat to the health and well-being of the population.
Emmanuel Gignac, the representative of the UN refugee agency in Niger, said that the current situation prevents the delivery of humanitarian aid into the country.

"There is no way to bring humanitarian aid into the country," Gignac was quoted as saying by Western media. "The immediate goods (affected) is going to be food and then it's going to be access to medicine, to drugs."

Additionally, with Nigeria cutting off electricity supplies to Niger, the situation could worsen as people increasingly rely on generators, which would be affected if fuel supplies are disrupted, the UN official noted.
Stranded trucks with goods are seen at the border between Nigeria and Niger in Jibia, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 7, 2023. The West Africa regional bloc's decision to shut borders with Niger in sanctioning the country's coup plotters is affecting businesses and locals in Nigerian towns where economic activities with Nigeriens had boomed for years.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 09.08.2023
Situation in Niger After Military Coup
EU Pleased Sanctions Cause Food, Medicine Shortages in Niger, Special Envoy Says
Martin Griffiths, the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has written to ECOWAS requesting exemptions from the sanctions, as reported by media.
Several organizations, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), have joined in the appeal, emphasizing the critical need for exemptions to ensure uninterrupted access to humanitarian assistance, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children. Paolo Cernuschi, the director of the IRC in Niger, highlighted the urgency of the situation.
"The clock is ticking, and the lives of Nigerien children are hanging in the balance," Cernuschi said. "Currently, stocks of vital supplies, such as nutritional aid and medical provisions, are held up at the borders due to sanctions. In a nation where acute malnutrition rates are alarmingly high, these delays could prove catastrophic."
In early August, EU Special Representative for the African Sahel Emanuela Del Re said that the European Union was satisfied that ECOWAS sanctions against Niger are starting to take effect by causing a shortage of food and medication in the coup-hit country.
"Sanctions are starting to take effect. There is not enough medication, not enough food. Power outages are even more frequent than before. If we want [the Nigerien military] junta to weaken, we must continue with the sanctions," Del Re told Italian daily La Repubblica on August 9.
Niger's military announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum and the establishment of the National Council for the Defense of the Fatherland (CNSP) through a televised address in late July.
Leaders of most Western countries and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the coup. In early August, participants in an emergency meeting of ECOWAS chiefs of staff in Abuja, Nigeria, approved a contingency plan for military intervention in Niger to restore Bazoum to power.