Who is Gen Abdourahamane Tiani, Niger's new leader after President Bazoum's ouster

Tiani has been leading the elite presidential guard unit since 2011

NIGER-SECURITY/ General Abdourahmane Tiani, who was declared as the new head of state of Niger by leaders of a coup, arrives to meet with ministers in Niamey, Niger | Reuters

After ousting President Mohammed Bazoum, General Abdourahamane Tiani, the commander of Niger's presidential guard, declared himself as the head of state on July 28.

Tiani appeared on Télé Sahel, the state television with a banner that referred to him as “President of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland.” A statement said the constitution has been suspended and all government institutions have been dissolved.

This is the seventh military takeover in West and Central Africa in less than three years. Western powers have raised concerns over the coup and Bazoum's ouster as Niger has been their key ally in the region to counter insurgencies by groups affiliated to Al Qaeda and Islamic State. Here's a look at Tiani's past accomplishments as he takes over the African country's reins.

Who is General Abdourahamane Tiani?

Hailing from Filingue, Tillaberi, which borders Mali, the 62-year-old general was a former military attache at Niger's embassy in Germany. He has led the elite presidential guard unit since 2011.

Tiani was decorated for securing the crash site of a French UTA flight near Bilma in northern Niger in 1989. All 170 people on board were killed, following a suitcase bomb explosion. Tiani was the first officer on site, according to Reuters.

Heading a battalion in Agadez, he also led military operations in the Niger desert against contraband and drug traffickers.

Worsening security led to the coup: Tiani

In a statement on Télé Sahel on Friday, Tiani asked "the technical and financial partners and friends of Niger to understand the specific situation of our country and provide all necessary support to help it overcome the challenges it faces". Tiania said the coup was necessary because of the worsening security in the country, adding that "we cannot continue with the same approaches proposed so far, as it risks witnessing the gradual and inevitable disappearance of our nation".

US says there is room for diplomacy

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said there was still room for diplomacy and warned that the US will be forced to cease security and other cooperation with Niger.

French Foreign Minister Catherina Colonna referred to it as an "attempted coup" on Friday, saying the military takeover is “not final”.

– with agency inputs

📣 The Week is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@TheWeekmagazine) and stay updated with the latest headlines