Catholic Bishops in West Africa Express Spiritual Closeness with Nigeriens Following Coup

Members of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) at the closing Mass of their fourth plenary assembly in Abuja, Nigeria on 8 May 2022. Credit: ACI Africa

Members of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) have expressed their “solidarity and spiritual closeness” with the people of God in Niger following a July 26 military coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from power.

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Monday, August 7, RECOWA members said that they had been “following with concern the events of recent days in Niger, since the coup d'état on 26 July 2023.”

“We, your brother bishops of RECOWA, would like to assure you that we are not indifferent to the suffering that your country is going through at this difficult time,” they said.

The Catholic Bishops in West Africa further expressed their “spiritual closeness to you and assure you of our prayers for a peaceful and definitive resolution to the current crisis.”

“As shepherds of your people, you certainly have an important role to play in maintaining peace in your country, starting with the most important of all, the ministry of prayer,” they added.


RECOWA members implored, “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa, and therefore Our Lady of Niger, hold Niger in her maternal hands and grant it peace.”

On August 7, Reuters reported that Niger was waiting for a response from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)  after coup leaders ignored a deadline to reinstate President Bazoum.

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 was 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.

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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 another statement, members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Burkina Faso and Niger (CEBN) said they were following events in the country with great concern.

“How can we fail to be concerned when the solutions envisaged to end the crisis include the specter of war, bringing to mind the possibility of a second Libya, while the disastrous consequences of the destabilization of this country continue to cause terrible suffering to the people of the Sahel,” they said.

CEBN members added, “This is why we do not believe at all in the solution of force, to which we clearly say no.”

They went ahead to express “fraternal support and ecclesial solidarity by assuring you of our prayers for you and for the entire people of Niger at this difficult time.”


“May the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, and of Saint Joseph, protector of the universal Church, obtain for Niger and the Sahel the grace of a lasting peace and a peaceful end to the crisis,” the Catholic Bishops said.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.