From Tamanrasset: the struggle of Sawaba and the Algerian connection, 1957-1966

TitleFrom Tamanrasset: the struggle of Sawaba and the Algerian connection, 1957-1966
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsK. van Walraven
Secondary TitleThe Journal of North African Studies
Pagination507 - 527
Date Published2005///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAlgeria, colonialism, Country, France, Ghana, Mali, military intervention, Niger, opposition parties, rebellions

This article deals with the rebellion of 'Sawaba' against the PPN (Parti progressiste nigeI_rien) regime in Niger. Sawaba was a political party that represented a social movement and formed the first autonomous government of Niger during the last years of French suzerainty (1957-1958). For a number of reasons, the French assisted in Sawaba's removal from government. Together with the new regime, they proceeded to persecute the Sawaba party, which was driven underground. Sawaba organized a clandestine domestic opposition and made preparations for a violent take-over with the help of friendly countries such as Ghana, Algeria and Mali. Assisted with arms, money and training, its commandos invaded Niger from the south and west in the autumn of 1964. Despite Algerian support before the invasion, the revolt failed and Sawaba was condemned to the political wilderness. This article focuses on the Algerian dimension of the revolt. It discusses the political evolution of Niger from the spring of 1957 to independence in August 1960 and how this connected to developments in Algeria. It then discusses Niger's security situation and how this was linked to control over its nomadic population and incursions made by the two countries across their common frontier. Subsequent sections analyse Sawaba's clandestine organization and the support provided by Algeria, discussing Sawaba's cell in Tamanrasset (southern Algeria) and its military training further to the north. The conclusion assesses the consequences of the failure of the revolt for the relations between Niger and Algeria. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

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