Letter to Secretary of State Blinken Regarding Recent Armed Coup in Niger, September 14, 2023

Year Published
  • 2023
  • English

September 14, 2023

Honorable Antony Blinken
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C. St. NW
Washington, DC 20520
-via email -

Dear Secretary Blinken:

As Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the recent armed coup in Niger prompts me to share my concern. I join my voice with those of Pope Francis, the Regional Conference of Catholic Bishops of West Africa (RECOWA) and the Catholic Conference of Burkina Faso Niger, each of whom have shared their aspirations for a peaceful solution and stable future for this country and the Sahel region.

It is the valuation of the local Catholic Church leadership that an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) armed response would only add to the violence and it could provoke serious unintended consequences for the entire region including driving a wedge between Sahelian West African countries and those leading the ECOWAS force.

I urge the United States to provide leadership among the regional parties to this crisis to develop a reasonable and peaceful transition back to a legitimate duly elected government in Niger and the other Sahelian countries of Mali and Burkina Faso that have fallen victim to military take overs. I am aware that Acting Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, traveled to West Africa following the coup and that Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Molly Phee, just finished a mission there as well. I hope you will encourage ECOWAS, the Africa Union, Muslim and Christian faith leaders, peacebuilding institutions like the West Africa Network for Peace, the Elders Group and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and others to build the momentum and the courage needed to bring an end to the violence, terrorism, and turmoil that has wracked the Sahel for over a decade.

I also urge the United States to work with the international donor community to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in this region who need it. Those already living in extreme poverty and chronic food insecurity would suffer the most from broad economic sanctions that could result as a response to the coup.

I now renew their call to you to support these religious leaders and others of goodwill to reverse this rising tide of violence and instability in the Sahel.

I note that the Administration wisely decided to center the implementation of the Global Fragility Act in coastal West Africa. With the Sahel having gone far beyond fragility into violence, terrorism, and military coups, I hope with your leadership a much broader, intensive, and sustained initiative that unites regional, African, and international partners can rebuild the peace and stability that West Africa was known for in years past.

As my Committee stands with the bishops of West Africa, we are ready to work with you towards that goal.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend David J. Malloy
Bishop of Rockford
Chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace

Lettre d’Exhortation à la Retenue et au Discernement dans la Gestion de la Situation Socio-Politique au Niger
Message de Solidarité et de Communion aux Évêques de Niger
Bishop Dhalwana Laurent Lompo Calls for Prayer and Fasting for the Stability of Niger

Letter to Secretary of State Blinken on Niger, September 14, 2023.pdf
2 Lettre d'exhortation à la retenue et au discerneme-230807-234346.pdf
3 Message de Solidarité et de Communion aux Évêques de Niger.pdf
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