It has been a week to the day that Mohamed Bazoum, the new president of Niger, was invested. During his inaugural speech, the Head of State of course dwelled on the upsurge in terrorist attacks in his country. Niger, he said, is "confronted with the existence of terrorist groups whose barbarism has just crossed all limits". Terrorist entities which, continued the new Nigerien president, "carry out massacres of innocent civilians on a large scale, occasionally committing real war crimes". The word is out: Niger is at war. After the presidential election, several attacks were perpetrated against civilians in the “Three Borders” area, at the crossroads of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Result: more than 300 dead.
Terrorism, a first personal failure
If the presidential election allowed Niger to experience its first peaceful and democratic alternation in power, we owe it in large part to Mahamadou Issoufou, whose governance was praised by all observers. The only downside to the balance sheet of power is the terrorist attacks. Except that it is Bazoum, former Minister of the Interior, who was the architect of Niger's security policy. It is therefore with a first personal failure that the Head of State begins his first term. Especially since this is the first time that terrorist groups have attacked civilian communities in Niger. With Boko Haram, the Islamic State group in the greater Sahara (EIGS) and al-Qaeda facing him, Mohamed Bazoum knows that he will have to devote a lot of time and energy to creating an effective security policy.
Bazoum will have to show very quickly if he is able to meet this challenge
Bazoum will have to start a real balancing act. Because the former Minister of the Interior and Foreign Affairs has other challenges to meet, including those of the economy, youth and the opposition, especially after the attempted coup. It will also have to decide on the militarization of the “Three Borders” area and on cooperation with foreign forces, including Mali and France. But if he has to start juggling the different issues, there is no doubt that terrorism will be the most difficult to resolve. Mohamed Bazoum will have to ensure that terrorism does not sow the seeds of inter-community discord and does not fuel political and social opposition. The new president affirmed that the fight against terrorism "will be very difficult". Bazoum will have to show very quickly if he is capable of meeting this challenge and of being Issoufou's political heir.