In the press – Confusion in Niger: “Coup d’État: And That Makes 4 for West Africa!”

In the news, on Thursday, July 27th, the reactions to the ongoing coup in Niger, where the military claims to have overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum.

The coup in Niger comes as the Russia-Africa summit begins in Saint Petersburg. The damning report by the NGO Save the Children on the living conditions of migrant children employed in the agricultural sector in Italy. Another medal for French swimmer Léon Marchand. And paintings of Kim Jong-un.

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In the news, the first reactions to the ongoing coup in Niger, where the military claims to have overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum.

After Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso, Niger is now affected by “the spring of coups” – the phrase comes from Wakat Sera, which notes that this is the fifth military coup in Niger since the country’s independence in 1960 and that there is “nothing new under the scorching Sahel sun.” The Burkinabe news site reminds us that this time, the coup comes at a time when Niger, like the entire region, is facing constant terrorist attacks, both against the military and civilians.

“What are the underlying reasons for the outburst of the presidential guard? Is it a problem of governance by President Bazoum, elected in 2021? Or is it the reactionary behavior of a group of soldiers refusing to lose their privileges, starting with their leader who does not want to be replaced?” : many questions raised by Pays, which also recalls that France has made Niger a key piece in deploying its new military strategy in the Sahel.” The Burkinabe newspaper invites Mohamed Bazoum to “ask himself the right questions, him whose moralizing tone towards the juntas in power in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea-Conakry certainly did not make everyone happy.” “Beyond Bazoum, the Economic Community of West African States must question the events in Niamey,” writes the newspaper, which sees “the dream of ECOWAS to fight against coups, already compromised.”

The coup in Niger comes as the Russia-Africa summit begins in Saint Petersburg. The pro-Kremlin newspaper Kommersant jokes about this coincidence and notes that “if Mohamed Bazoum had decided from the start to participate in the Saint Petersburg summit, there would have been no problem,” and that the Nigerien president would then have “peacefully discovered the tourist sites of the Peterhof Palace and the Constantin Palace.” The newspaper remembers that the first Russia-Africa summit was held in Sochi four years ago, in 2019, and at the time, it hosted 45 heads of state and government, compared to 17 today. A decrease in attendance due to the “events in Ukraine,” according to the newspaper – which consoles itself by saying it prefers quality over quantity and guarantees that the attending leaders are “all the more dear to Vladimir Putin,” who will have a personal meeting “with each of them.”

The repercussions of the war in Ukraine are also noticeable in Africa, particularly in the Central African Republic, where the Wagner paramilitary group seems to be withdrawing. Le Soir recalls that the Central African Republic is the first country on the continent where the militia has established itself, in 2018.

According to the Belgian newspaper, sources in Bangui have stated that “most of the Russian elements from Wagner have now left for Belarus to join their leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, and that these departures benefit the Rwandan forces in the Central African Republic. These soldiers are present within the UN peacekeeping force, MINUSCA, but also under military and economic agreements concluded between Bangui and Kigali, which lead these Rwandan soldiers to secure Kigali’s interests, particularly in the mines.

The newspaper indicates that Rwanda’s mining interests could end up conflicting with Wagner’s in the Central African Republic, and that Kigali may find itself in the middle of the power struggle between Russians and Westerners.

Speaking of “companies and Russian influence,” the Le Parisien/Aujourd’hui en France returns to the indictment, here in France, of the boss of a small business accused of illegally transferring French know-how to the Russians, but also to the Chinese. An investigation involving industrial secrets, super powerful electronic chips diverted for military purposes. A crime of treason and espionage punishable by fifteen years in prison.

Lastly, a word about the report by the NGO Save the Children on the living conditions of migrant children employed in the agricultural sector in Italy. This document, published on the occasion of World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30th, is featured on the front pages of several Italian newspapers, including Il Manifesto.

The communist newspaper is outraged by the fate of those it calls the “little brothers of Italy” – referring to the far-right party Fratelli d’Italia, led by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Thousands of children, whose parents are undocumented migrants working in farms in the south of the country, live in makeshift shelters, in almost complete educational, health, and social isolation. Some of these children are themselves exploited before the minimum age of 16, especially in Sicily. Il Manifesto mentions the cases of a 15-year-old young man of Tunisian origin, working in a warehouse with his sister, and another child who has been working since the age of 13, spraying chemicals on crops without any protection.

We won’t leave without mentioning the significant achievement of Léon Marchand at the World Swimming Championships currently taking place in Japan. The 21-year-old Frenchman was crowned yesterday in the 200m butterfly, three days after his stratospheric record in the 400m individual medley.

Exactly one year before the Paris Olympic Games, this bodes well, according to L’Équipe. But one thing at a time. From Japan to North Korea, from swimming to horse riding: Kim Jong-un is celebrating today the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice – celebrations in which the Russian Minister of Defense is also participating, with a visit to an exhibition of ballistic missiles, accompanied by the Dear Leader.

It is unknown whether Sergei Shoigu also had the chance to visit another exhibition, reported by The Times, an art show featuring several paintings of Kim Jong-un, on horseback or smiling benevolently in the snow, his face illuminated by the golden and pink sunset on Mount Paektu, the highest point in Korea. Delightful.

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