“Calm in the streets”: Catholic Priest Weighs in On Situation in Niger After Coup

Screengrab of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country delivering a statement on Nigerien state television shortly after detaining President Mohamed Bazoum. Credit: ORTN

Nigerien streets are experiencing calm following a military coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from power, a Catholic Missionary Priest serving in Niger’s capital city of Niamey has said.

In a Thursday, July 27  report sent to the Information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, Fr. Mauro Armanino, also confirmed that a few people were injured in the mayhem that followed the Wednesday, July 26 coup declaration.

 “Everything is calm in the streets,” the member of the Society of African Missions (SMA) says concerning the coup that the soldiers said was meant to stop President Bazoum from destabilizing the West African nation

He adds, “There is little traffic on the roads than usual also because a storm is underway in the city, after the 'usual' sandstorm that has obscured the morning sun for a while.”

Fr. Armanino says that some of the people who were wounded “probably as a result of the shots fired by the Presidential Guard to dissuade the protesters around the house of President Bazoum,” have been transferred to the national hospital.


Reuters reported that Colonel Amadou Abdramane among other nine officers announced the removal of the president from power on the night of July 26, saying that the action is meant to “put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”

The coup that has seen the suspension of all political activities and the closure of borders is the seventh one in West and Central Africa since 2020.

Niger has been experiencing political instability since the election of President Bazoum in 2021 when a coup attempt was thwarted as the military unit tried to seize the presidential palace days before his swearing-in.

While the West African country has been “perceived by many as one of the last bulwarks against expanding insecurity in the region,” some analysts link the coup to the rising as well as what has been described as “government incompetence and corruption”.

In his July 27 report to Agenzia Fides, Fr. Armanino lists the “dismantling of opposition political parties (whether desired or suffered ...) and the 'migration' of deputies to the presidential field reducing the institutional political space” as one of the possible causes of the coup.

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Fr. Armanino also says that the “suppression of the intellectual class, bought, sold or auctioned, has led to a thought vacuum that is difficult to fill,” thereby partly contributing to the coup.

Reacting to the coup, President Bazoum through Twitter indicated plans to ensure that “hard-earned achievements will be safeguarded.”

“All Nigerians who love democracy and freedoms will be taken care of. The coup militants claim to have the other units of the army and the police on their side, but for the moment the situation continues to appear fluid,” the Nigerian president said.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.