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Title:Sawaba's rebellion in Niger (1964-1965): narrative and meaning
Author:Walraven, Klaas vanISNI
Book title:Rethinking resistance: revolt and violence in African history
Geographic term:Niger
opposition parties
guerrilla warfare
Abstract:One of the least-studied revolts in postcolonial Africa, the invasion of Niger in 1964 by guerrillas of the outlawed Sawaba party, was a dismal failure and culminated in a failed attempt on the life of President Diori in the spring of 1965. Personal aspirations for higher education, access to jobs and social advancement, probably constituted the driving force of Sawaba's rank and file. Lured by the party leader, Djibo Bakary, with promises of scholarships abroad, they went to the far corners of the world, for what turned out to be guerrilla training. The leadership's motivations were grounded in a personal desire for political power, justified by a cocktail of militant nationalism, Marxism-Leninism and Maoist beliefs. Sawaba, however, failed to grasp the weakness of its domestic support base. The mystifying dimensions of revolutionary ideologies may have encouraged Djibo to ignore the facts on the ground and order his foot soldiers to march to their deaths. Notes, ref., sum. [Book abstract]