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African news explained

How France put down Niger's Sawaba movement

Audio 05:30

In a new book on Niger a Dutch author charts the history of what he calls Africa's first coup d'état. The Sawaba movement formed in 1954 was opposed to French colonial rule and pushed for independence. It developed into a militant social movement, aligned with Eastern bloc states, as well as Algeria and Ghana. But it was stopped in its tracks, repressed by France's fifth republic. Can we really call this Africa's first coup? Klaas van Walraven was one of the first people to uncover the history of Niger's Sawaba movement.

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