Niger’s junta rulers ask for help from Russian group Wagner

The request came during a visit by a coup leader, Gen. Salifou Mody, to neighboring Mali, where he made contact with someone from Wagner, Wassim Nasr, a journalist and senior research fellow at the Soufan Center, told The Associated Press. He said three Malian sources and a French diplomat confirmed the meeting first reported by France 24.
“They need (Wagner) because they will become their guarantee to hold onto power,” he said, adding that the group is considering the request. A Western military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment, told the AP they have also heard reports that the junta asked for help from Wagner in Mali.
Niger’s junta faces a Sunday deadline set by the regional bloc known as ECOWAS to release and reinstate the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, who has described himself as a hostage.
Defense chiefs from ECOWAS members finalized an intervention plan on Friday and urged militaries to prepare resources after a mediation team sent to Niger on Thursday wasn’t allowed to enter the city or meet with junta leader Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani.
After his visit to Mali, run by a sympathetic junta, Mody warned against military intervention, vowing that Niger would do what it takes not to become “a new Libya,” Niger’s state television reported Friday.
Niger has been seen as the West’s last reliable partner in a region where coups have been common in recent years. Juntas have rejected former colonizer France and turning toward Russia.

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