On December 27, 2021, the Niger government led by Mohamed Bazoum announced that it was expelling 8 Rwandans that were recently acquitted or freed by the United Nations Organization International Criminal Tribunal (ICT) and sent to Niger. On December 31, 2021, AfroAmerica Network sources in Niamey, Niger that have been following the story, got a copy of an order from the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals TO THE REPUBLIC OF NIGER TO STAY THE EXPULSION ORDER OF RELOCATED PERSONS AND ORDER FOR SUBMISSIONS (see image).
According to AfroAmerica Network sources within President Mohamed Bazoum entourage, the decision to break the agreement with the United Nations followed a lenghty direct phone conversation among Niger President Mohamed Bazoum in Niamey and French President Emmanuel Macron and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, from Paris on December 20 , 2021 (See here: Niger - France - Rwanda: Niger President Mohamed Bazoum To Expel Rwandans Allegedly Under Pressure From France's Emmanuel Macron and Rwanda's Paul Kagame, Breaking United Nations Agreement).
The decision to expel the 8 Rwandans was contained in an executive order signed by the Interior and Decentralizatioin Minister, Hamadou Adamou Souley,on December 27, 2021. The targeted individuals were given 7 days to leave the country. The Niger government stated that the decision was driven by critical diplomatic considerations and interests.
The order from the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals summons the Niger government to stop the expulsion, pending judgment on the final adjudication of the matter.
The order, MICT-13-43 D368 -D365, dated 31 December 2021 of which AfroAmerica Network has received a copy, has put a hold on the expulsion and contains the following instructions and injuctions to the Niger government of Mohamed Bazoum:
- INVITE the Government of Niger to provide, within 30 days of service of the present Order, written submissions regarding the validity of the Expulsion Order and its compliance with the Relocation Agreement;
- ORDER Niger to stay the Expulsion Order and to allow the Relocated Persons to remain on its territory, in accordance with the terms of the Relocation Agreement, pending the final adjudication of this matter;
- INSTRUCT the Registry to serve the present Order on all the Relocated Persons, including Muvunyi and Sagahutu, and on all counsel recognised as currently representing them;
- INSTRUCT the Registrar to file submissions, within 30 days of the present Order; and REMAIN SEISED of the matter.
With the order, the questions remain: what is next for the Niger government and the tarnished reputation of the short term President Mohamed Bazoum?
According to AfroAmerica Network sources within the Niger government, the order, issued by Judge Joseph E. Chiondo Masanche, has created chaos in the administration of President Mohamed Bazoum. The chaos has been exacerbated by the fact that it was issued on the eve of 2022 New year celebration.
Some critics within the government, who had, so far, been keeping a lower profile, have started to openly label the government of President Mohamed Bazoum as "incompetent" and leading Niger to a "shit hole" state, not even before a year in power.
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France - Niger - Rwanda Relations: Another blunder of France's intervention in West Africa?
The influence of France, under Emmanuel Macron's leadership has been heavily weighted down and mostly dwindled in Africa, especially in West Africa. This has impacted the French economy that relies on natural resources and raw materials from the region and exports to Africa. France has also been the target of prominent African activists, including the PanAfrican movement (See here: Kémi Séba: AfroAmerica Network Black Man of Year 2021). Accorrding to sources within Niger goevernment, the case of 8 Rwandans may further impact the role of the French government in West Africa.
The French government, based on the experience in Mozambique had proposed to invite, officially or secretely, Rwandan special forces or troops into Niger to support Niger Presidential Guard and the loyal troops. With the latest developments on the case of the 8 Rwandans, the Rwandan troops already ready to deploy in Niger to provide security around gold and uranium mines and oil resources areas may not operate as expected.
Hence, the AfroAmerica Network sources within the Niger government confirm that some members of the government have been worried that the case of 8 Rwandans in Niger will be used as another example of how weak African governments, such as the one in Niger led by President Mohamed Bazoum, are exploited by the French government to serve foreign interests while ignoring the oppression, dictatorship, kleptocracy, and human rights abuses committed by governments across the region.
What is next:
- Will the United Nations Organization and the International Criminal Tribunal push for sanctions against the Niger President Mohamed Bazoum's government for breaking the agreement signed just a month earlier?
- What country the 8 Rwandans will be sent to?
- Will Rwandan troops and special forces still deploy secretely into Niger and help stop insecurity, secure the government and administration of Mohamed Bazoum and protect the French Government's interests in the region?
AfroAmerica Network is still following the story.
© 2021 AfroAmerica Network
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