Backstage of power in Niger: The military junta faces its divisions.

Recently a series of tumultuous events have been going on in CNSP and the Nigerien army, with deep divisions and conflicts of influence in the the big mute. Turbulent meetings, protests of discontent, and strategic disputes have stirred the corridors of power, highlighting internal divisions that could have major impacts on the country's political and security stability.

Very eventful week in the CNSP and the big mute!

This Monday, February 12, a meeting of the CNSP took place, under the Presidency and under the direction of General Tiani, which lasted until about 1 am. A 2nd CNSP meeting was held on Wednesday, February 14, but this time expanded to other senior officers of the army, today, Friday, February 16, 2024, a succession meeting was held at the headquarters this time. These 3 meetings had the aim of revising General Tiani's rock-and-roll outing, on Sunday, February 11. the brothers-in-arms of the now-conteur general wanted to ask Tiani where he was driving them? When are the negotiations to lift the sanctions? etc... They told him that this situation is long enough and that it was the people who suffered the most in this entire history. The security situation was also discussed in the debates.

This Friday, February 16th around 6am, shots including heavy weapons (12/7), were heard in the vicinity of gamkalley and roundabout 6th. According to our information, it was the soldiers who were expressing their displeasure and outrage. Let us remind you that some FDS have not yet received their January salaries. Could this be the cause of this mood swing or something else?

Curious thing General Salao Barmou, Chief of Staff of the Armies was absent from both meetings, at the Palace, although he was in Niamey. It seems that MSB has refused to participate in this Tiani mask for some time now following the latter's decisions to bring Wagner's mercenaries to Niger and withdraw our country from ECOWAS.

General Salaou Barmou, central figure and fierce opponent of Russian influence

On January 3, 2024, an important meeting was held at the Army Headquarters, bringing together the main officials of the military hierarchy under the chairmanship of General Salifou Modi. The aim was to examine strengthening the partnership with Russia's the federation including considering a potential deployment of Russian Wagner mercenaries in the fight against terrorism.

Despite hectic, lengthy discussions and a lack of consensus, a "enhanced military strategic agreement" was signed during the visit to Moscow, January 16-19, 2024, between Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine and Defense Minister General Salifou Mody.

The cleavages in the junta

Tensions in the junta are taking an ever-increasing magnitude, manifesting itself through the formation of two separate camps. On the one hand, Generals Salifou Mody, Minister of Defense, and Mohamed Toumba, Minister of the Interior, as well as Colonel Souleymane Balla-Arabé, Director General of the DGDSE, are in favor of Wagner's arrival. On the other hand, General Moussa Salaou Barmou, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMA), is categorically opposed to this orientation, defending the partnership with the United States, to which he is closely linked.

The energetic position of General Barmou

Isolated due to his proximity to former president Mahamadou Issoufou, General Tiani, the head of the junta, is forced to follow the influential bloc favorable to Wagner. On the other hand, General Barmou, close to the United States, is becoming the main figure in the opposition to this partnership.

General Barmou, perceived as a threat by General Tiani, expresses his energetic refusal to the arrival of the Russian private military company Wagner. This opposition fuels tensions in the CNSP, polarized between those seeking to diversify military partnerships and those who remain attached to historic partnerships.

General Barmou's ambitions

In addition to his categorical refusal of Wagner's arrival, General Barmou is considered a serious threat by General Tiani, who wants to replace him from his CEMA post. However, fear of immediate reprisal discourages General Tiani from replacing Barmou from office. The recent rumours at Tiawa and Kolo wanted to serve as a pretext from abroad for his removal before Tiani reversed.

Thus, General Barmou, strong from his support in the Special Forces, acquired through significant American support, is in a position of strength. His popularity in the army, reinforced by his experience at the head of the Special Forces, makes him the only major player who can potentially topple the incumbent power in the coming weeks, if the situation persists.

Conclusion: Rising tensions between factions favoring the arrival of Russian Wagner mercenaries, carried out by General Salifou Modi, and those supporting traditional partnerships with the United States, under the auspices of General Moussa Salaou Barmou, highlight crucial issues at stake in the military junta from Niger. The country's political future seems uncertain as General Barmou, strong with popular support and influence within the Special Forces, could possibly topple the incumbent power if tensions persist, heralding a very explosive near future.

Share Article |