Priest in Niger Facilitating Help to Families in “almost impossible situation” after Coup

Credit: Agenzia Fides

A Catholic Missionary Priest ministering in Niger’s Niamey Archdiocese is facilitating help to members of families in “almost impossible situation” amid effects of the July 26 military coup that led to the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum from power.

In a Tuesday, September 26 report by the Information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, Fr. Rafael Casamayor says that the effects of the Coup, including the closure of the borders, have led to food scarcity in the West African nation.

“We are in our mission in Dosso committed to helping the most disadvantaged families who are already in a difficult and almost impossible situation,” Fr. Casamayor says, adding that “Niger is isolated in this delicate and difficult time because of the lack of rain, poor harvests, lack of international aid and the closure of borders in a landlocked country.”

The Italian-born member of the Society of African Missions (SMA) says that “despite the uncertainty” of Niger following the July 26 coup, the ministry among the people of God has continued.

The harvest in the whole of the Sahel region has been poor, resulting in food scarcity and high prices, he further notes, adding that their mission for the most disadvantaged families in the Dosso community is done as “discreetly as possible” to avoid causing tension in the whole community.


“The four base communities of the mission will be responsible for the initiative as they know best the situation of the most disadvantaged families,” Fr. Casamayor who has served the Nigerien community since 2021 says.

He adds, “We intend to organize different distributions depending on our possibilities and the events in this very uncertain time.”

The Catholic missionary Priest says that the location of Niger that places it between the Sahara Desert and the African savannah exposes the country to climate change risks.

“Climate change is having a particularly severe impact on this vast area, where crops are becoming increasingly scarce and famines are becoming more frequent,” he says, and adds, “This year seems to be a typical example: rainfall was insufficient and crops were destroyed in large areas.”

Fr. Casamayor goes on to decry the closure of the borders following the July 26 coup that was orchestrated by Colonel Amadou Abdramane alongside nine military officers. The borders’ closure blocked the flow of food in the West African country.

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“Aid from many international organizations has also been canceled, which has resulted in the prices of basic foodstuffs rising and making them difficult to find, threatening the famine that they are already feeling, especially for the poorest,” he says.

With the Parish Council of his Catholic mission, the SMA member expresses optimism about reaching out to the most of the affected families, saying, “We are all poor here, starting with all the members of the Christian community, but no one has held back.”

“We will ask for donations for the neediest, whether Christian or Muslim, the poorest in the city and we have decided to entrust the project to the four grassroots communities that know the neighborhoods and the people,” he says.

In the September 26 Agenzia Fides report, Fr. Casamayor lauds the success of the first action of food distribution that he says has been undertaken “in the most remote, small and humble places with the simplest people.”

After the completion of the first stage of food distribution, he says, "We returned to the mission in the middle of the night, full of joy, with the intention of returning next month. So, we continue, God willing".


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.