Abdourahamane Tchiani | The shadow General - The Hindu

Hello, everyone. Today, we’re stepping into the intricate web of politics and power shifts in Niger, a country grappling with leadership transitions and regional pressures. We’re talking about a figure who once safeguarded the President, only to find himself at the helm of a junta now steering the ship. Meet Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani—the man at the center of Niger’s recent coup and the head of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.

A Twist of Fate

Imagine this: a commander tasked with the protection of a nation’s leader suddenly taking the reins of power. That’s the story of Gen. Tchiani. In 2021, he thwarted a coup attempt, showcasing his allegiance to then-President Mahamadou Issoufou. Yet, just two years later, he orchestrated a coup against President Mohamed Bazoum, Issoufou’s successor. The man who once guarded power now wields it.

A Gradual Unraveling

As the commander of the Presidential Guard, Gen. Tchiani was intricately tied to President Issoufou’s administration. Promoted to General in 2018 and maintaining his role as the guardian of the Presidential Guard under President Bazoum, Gen. Tchiani enjoyed influence and proximity to power. But as time passed, tensions simmered between the military and President Bazoum’s administration.

Catalysts for Change

President Bazoum assumed office with promises of democratic progress, security enhancement, and economic stability. However, the grip of Islamist violence across the Sahel region, coupled with inflation’s sting, put his administration to the test. His efforts to rein in the military’s influence and trim the privileges of the Presidential Guard might have inadvertently fueled discontent.

The Turning Point

Reports suggest that relations between Gen. Tchiani and President Bazoum deteriorated in recent months. A decision to remove Gen. Tchiani as the head of the Presidential Guard, allegedly made during a Cabinet meeting, set the stage for a swift and transformative move. In just four days, Gen. Tchiani shifted from being a commander to becoming the central figure in a political upheaval that has gripped Niger.

The Path Ahead

As Gen. Tchiani assumes control, Niger finds itself at a crossroads. His stated reason for intervention was to prevent the country’s gradual decline. However, his ascendancy isn’t without challenges. He faces growing regional and international pressure to restore ousted President Bazoum. The eyes of the world are fixed on Niger, West Africa’s largest country, as it navigates this juncture of change.


Ladies and gentlemen, the story of Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani serves as a reminder that politics is a fluid and unpredictable landscape. From being entrusted with protecting a President to becoming a key figure in a junta, his journey underscores the complexities of leadership and transition. As the narrative continues to unfold, the choices made by leaders like Gen. Tchiani shape the trajectory of nations, leaving us to watch closely and reflect on the intricate dance of power.