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Socialismes en Afrique

 | 
Françoise Blum
, 
Héloïse Kiriakou
, 
Martin Mourre
, 
et al.

Première partie : doctrines et corpus. 2 : en marge du pouvoir : contestations

Socialism in Sawaba: The Journey of Doctrines and Ideas in a Social Movement in Niger

Klaas van Walraven

Texte intégral

  • 1 Singular, talaka.

1In contrast to other political formations active in Niger before the country’s independence in 1960, the Sawaba party (founded in 1954) represented not just a political machine but a genuine social movement. It had roots in the trade unions—especially private-sector unions—as its core was made up of so-called petit peuple or “little folk” (i.e., talakawa, commoners1), who in the course of colonial rule left the countryside for Niger’s small but new urban universe. Most obtained low- or unskilled jobs in the private sector or at subaltern levels of the administration. They worked as masons in the building industry (many of these bellas, people of slave decent), as domestics for Europeans, as keepers or office boys at French trading houses or government departments. Others engaged in artisanal activity, working as butchers or bakers, furniture makers, wood or metal workers, or horticultural producers (vital for the food supply of Niamey, the expanding colonial capital). Horizontally structured, together they formed a semi-urban proletariat, alongside an assortment of petty traders and marginals, ranging from bar tenders to prostitutes. Their social status was close to that of employees, who were slightly better placed and whose professions were marked by the technological sophistication brought on by colonialism: postal clerks, telephone operators and drivers, mechanics, veterinary nurses, meteorological assistants—even the odd cinema operator—and administrative cadres below the level of the higher-placed évolués (such as teachers).

  • 2 In the context of this chapter, the term “class” refers to groups that are at least partially defin (...)

2What these petit peuple and associated strata had in common was that they had broken the confines of village life and developed urban lifestyles, but also retained links with Niger’s rural universe, thus assuring a flow of goods and ideas between city and countryside. Just as for the évolués (who seemed a higher class of people yet),2 the interests of the petit peuple depended on social mobility. They were thus at variance with those of the guardians of the status quo—not just the colonial master but also the country’s chiefs, hated for an ascribed status that was compromised by their transformation into colonial civil servants and the tasks this had brought in terms of tax collection and labor recruitment. The structural changes that colonialism wrought in Nigerien society made relations between these social strata increasingly difficult.

  • 3 In English, this term has a pejorative connotation eschewed here.

3While a small minority in what remained an overwhelmingly rural world, the petit peuple were a vocal group. They were potential social climbers,3 if not malcontents within the confines of Niger’s social evolution, limited as this was. As elsewhere in Africa, the political consequences and socioeconomic changes of World War II and its aftermath did not fail to reinforce social ferment. Colonial reform was slow to make its mark on the ground (especially the abolition of forced labor and administrative justice), fueling discontent, which was aggravated by disappointing levels of capital investment and stagnating wages, and intensified by an actual increase in taxation. Niger had a higher fiscal burden than other parts of Afrique occidentale française (AOF), although it was among the poorest territories. Social misery was rife, groundnut peasants and traders felt exploited by monopolistic French trading houses, the ascent of the évolués in the new territorial assembly, with its attractive emoluments, fueled jealousies, while petty traders and itinerant marabouts alike resented the control that the Sarakuna—Hausaland’s great chiefs—still exercised over rural communities. The very gradual extension of political freedoms (until 1954, Niger remained stuck with an old-school colonial governor, who was Vichyite to boot) coupled with limited economic improvements fed simmering ideas on social justice. To some extent these were vague in conception, at least at the level of individuals, and focused on the attainment of an imagined good life along lines that marked much of African nationalism’s quasi-millenarianism at the time—“more credit, fewer taxes.” These ideals were fed, first and foremost, by social anger, rather than complex politico-economic ideologies.

4Such emotional undercurrents played an important role in the establishment of the Union démocratique nigérienne (UDN), as exemplified by the name with which it was hailed in the countryside—Sawaba. This was actually the name with which a kindred party in Northern Nigeria was greeted (van Walraven n.d.). It is a term related to the Hausa word sawki, referring to a feeling of relief or deliverance from misery. As the party was made up of a core of petit peuple (the UDN’s founding members included a bar tender, a baker, two masons, a telephone operator, and a bookkeeper), its message quickly spread to the rural areas, benefiting from the ties that its semi-urbanized activists maintained there. It was Sawaba that brought the politics of decolonization to the countryside. Since, in addition to peasants and urban petit peuple, the party also attracted the support of a certain intellectual elite (some teachers, numerous veterinarians), it began to articulate the interests of different social echelons, thus assuming the hallmarks of a genuine social movement (van Walraven 2013). It was led by Djibo Bakary, a charismatic, hard-talking nationalist who in the late 1940s established a union for impoverished agricultural workers in the Niamey region. In 1953, Bakary made his name when he and fellow unionist Abdoulaye Mamani organized Niger’s first mass strike action, taking the French by surprise and culminating in substantial wage increases. As a youth, Bakary had been a scouting enthusiast and, upon entering the teaching profession, came under the influence of a Senegalese marabout in Agadez, who preached a message of love and solidarity among men. This struck a chord in the young man, who had seen his father—a village chief—being pressganged into a colonial road-building project (Bakary 1992: 22–23; van Walraven 2011: 355–357).

5Bakary’s agitation against colonial abuse brought him into contact with Niger’s first political party, the Parti progressiste nigérien (PPN), which was affiliated to the AOF-wide Rassemblement démocratique africain (RDA). In the French National Assembly, the RDA associated with the Parti communiste français (PCF), as communist MPs supported its criticism of colonial rule and helped African colleagues in their work. Spurred on by their ideological worldview, French communists and their trade union vehicle, the Confédération générale du travail (CGT), assisted African cadres, union workers, and intellectuals in various ways. They gave legal assistance, invited Africans to international conferences, and provided political training through the famous groupes d’études communistes, established throughout francophone Africa (Suret-Canale 1994). With the worsening of the Cold War, the PCF was excluded from the metropolitan government, and this legitimized, in the eyes of the French political establishment, the persecution of RDA cadres, who were engaged in a fierce struggle with colonial interests, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire. This led Ivorian leaders to break the RDA’s ties with the PCF, to the chagrin of more radical, left-leaning African nationalists. Among them was Djibo Bakary who, with his dynamism and organizational talent, had quickly risen through the ranks of the PPN and assumed the position of secretary-general. Other PPN leaders, however, supported the RDA’s rupture with the PCF, thus outflanking Bakary, who left the PPN in 1951. It was after this that he began to campaign from his union platforms.

Socialism and Sawaba’s ideological make-up

  • 4 For a contemporary comparative assessment, see Ministère de la FOM. Cabinet du ministre. Bureau d’é (...)
  • 5 As Sawaba’s core consisted of urban petit peuple, it had no singular regional base. Its fiefs were (...)
  • 6 Union démocratique nigérienne, Lettre ouverte aux Nigériens, Paris, 30 April 1954 (Fluchard 1995: 3 (...)

6In response, Bakary’s enemies in the PPN-RDA (RDA for short) accused him and the UDN/Sawaba—established three years later—of being communist. This was an instrumental ploy to encourage French hostility towards the party and a potentially effective one in view of Sawabists’ fierce agitation against Niger’s colonial administrators (who deeply resented them). However, these accusations provide no guidance in understanding the real nature of the party’s objectives or the views of its leader. It is true that, thanks in part to the assistance provided by French communists, but possibly also through the influence of “AOFien” immigrants (people from Senegal and Soudan, the later Mali), Marxist influences were more pronounced in Niger than elsewhere in West Africa (with the exception of Guinea and Senegal).4 This did not fail to affect political and union activists, particularly in terms of their discursive imagination. The UDN program thus spoke about the “contradictions” in Nigerien society, it referred to the RDA as “petty bourgeois” (because it was very much a vehicle for évolués, in addition to being a party of the western region),5 and it castigated the Sarakuna as “feudal” exploiters of the rural masses. Sawaba thus swore to fight colonialism as a system of “exploitation,” rather than aim at individual oppressors, and in this context prided itself on its contacts in the Eastern Bloc, which had developed in part with PCF assistance.6 Sawabists saw no reason in foregoing this support—not just the urban strata with modern technical skills, but also truly little folk as Dandouna Aboubakar, an illiterate carpenter from Maradi, who worked his way up as a union organizer and learned to read and write later in life, undoubtedly thanks to his contacts with the CGT and East European communist organizations. Intent on climbing the social ladder, men like him were grateful to the communists for the help that they rendered. They therefore refused to profess any hostility towards the communist party or its union vehicles.

  • 7 Interviews with Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, 7–8 February 2003, 16 February 2006, Niamey, 23 Febr (...)
  • 8 In his case (but which was not unique), this was tied to a strong belief in the magical powers of a (...)

7While Sawaba cadres were to greater or lesser extents socialized in Marxian language and some, such as Ousmane Dan Galadima (the assistant secretary-general), came close to being genuine Marxists (Fig. 1),7 most Sawabists articulated a discourse that was fueled by anger (Monga 1996; Cooper 2008: 194), which was tied to hatred of social others (especially évolués, Frenchmen, chiefs) and which represented a passion that was, perhaps, more linked to “populism” than socialism, at least in its more developed ideological form (on this slippery notion see Saul 1973: 152–179). That anger was, nevertheless, articulated in the form of anticolonial tenets and expressed in socialist/unionist vocabulary. In the case of many, this formed a reflection of an aspiration to social upliftment for themselves and their class, rather than evidence of a full conversion to Marxism-Leninism. As elsewhere in Africa, those inculcated with socialist beliefs combined these with the urgencies of the struggle for independence or the priorities of Third World agendas. Marxist concepts, in that context, blended into a greater whole, sometimes in unique ways—as in the case of Amadou Diop (Fig. 2), a truck driver and political autodidact from Zinder who assembled a personal ideology from bits and pieces of socialist doctrine and a cultural immersion in Sufism.8

Fig. 1. Ousmane Dan Galadima, Niamey, 2008. (Photo author)

Fig. 1. Ousmane Dan Galadima, Niamey, 2008. (Photo author)

Fig. 2. Amadou Diop, Zinder, 2003. (Photo author)

Fig. 2. Amadou Diop, Zinder, 2003. (Photo author)
  • 9 Le Démocrate: Organe bimensuel de l’Union démocratique nigérienne, 4 February 1956.

8All this did not amount to a formal link between Sawaba and the French communist party or the communist bloc, although Djibo Bakary was a one-time member of France’s Economic and Social Council on behalf of the CGT (1954–1957). In fact, Bakary was quite explicit about not being a communist (retrospectively explaining this by pointing to his Muslim beliefs), even if, for tactical reasons, his denial of an “organic link” between Sawaba and the PCF skirted the existence of ties that UDN members maintained, as individuals, with French and East European communist organizations (Bakary himself included). That Sawaba’s leader never fully dissociated himself from the communists, however, can also be explained by the fact that he was not a real Marxist in the first place. Thus, in 1956 Bakary applauded the communists’ anticolonial position, yet argued not to share the same ideas, rejecting “imported” ideologies and articulating, instead, a nationalist discourse marked by militant, Marxist-inspired undertones. More or less along the lines of the ideology of “African socialism” as propounded later by different African leaders (Friedland and Rosberg 1964), this entailed a discourse that referred to “African realities” and Africa’s own “human values.” Sawaba’s ideology aimed to transcend the “contradictions of Nigerien society” and mobilize numerous social strata (not just workers or peasants) for the struggle against “exploitation” and colonial rule. In this discursive presentation the movement’s petit peuple formed the revolutionary vanguard of the talakawa—which themselves embodied “the people.”9

  • 10 Sawaba Party, Pour l’indépendance effective du Niger : les raisons de notre lutte, Bamako, Bureau d (...)
  • 11 Ibid.

9The hybrid inclusiveness of this socially inspired nationalist ideology was made more explicit in later party documents. Thus, in a pamphlet dating from 1961,10 Sawaba presented itself as a movement with a broad popular base, arguing that the goal of independence was the well-being of “the people.” It castigated conditions in the urban areas, which were said to suffer from an increase in unemployment and taxation, declining living standards and growing social insecurity. The policy statement claimed that petty traders, artisans, and transporters suffered from restrictions enacted at the behest of large French trading interests and wealthy Nigeriens. But the pamphlet cast its net wider by demanding the suppression of “unjust” taxes and calling for agrarian reforms that should end peasants’ exploitation by the chiefs. Co-operatives should be established and local affairs should no longer be run by the chiefs but by village councils. It also argued against caste barriers and called for equal rights for women and men.11

  • 12 Sawaba Party, Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie, Niamey, Bureau politique, 1962.

10While these objectives received cruder expression in the context of agitation on the ground, another policy statement, dating from 1962,12 became sharper in tone, in part as a consequence of the movement’s suppression after independence, on which more below. This encouraged the radicalization of its discourse, also because this served the tactical purpose of procuring Eastern Bloc support. The statement thus faithfully presented the broad patterns of Niger’s social stratification, and the different socioeconomic groupings this involved, discussing the position of pastoralists, petty traders, Muslim clerics, chiefs (for whom the document reserved severe criticism), and the broad range of artisanal producers working in the cities. It singled out the middling categories for assistance, such as petty traders and transporters (but also Qur’anic teachers and itinerant marabouts), who were said to be the victim of customs abuses and unfair licensing practices. Islam was said not to be in contradiction with the struggle for national liberation. The peasantry was deemed the most miserable group, victimized by colonialism and chiefs alike. Workers were seen, in this regard, as those who had to lead Sawaba’s struggle, particularly migrant laborers, as these were workers and peasants at the same time, had the awareness of workers and cherished their bonds with the countryside—in other words, an ideological representation of Niger’s petit peuple.

  • 13 Ibid.

11But in its aspiration to be all-inclusive the statement also asserted that students, as well as some intellectuals, were among the movement’s potential supporters. The document included a program of broad economic modernization including agrarian reform and exploitation of Niger’s mineral riches. Sawaba’s ideology thus entailed a plea for broad societal change. If there was no class analysis on Marxist-Leninist lines (which would have been difficult in view of Africa’s deviant social stratification), its policy explanations contained references to what could be cast as social enemies. Chiefs formed a typical target, (the few African) higher civil servants another. Nevertheless, even in the case of chiefly rulers Sawaba’s inclusive posture made it retain the possibility—rhetorically—of welcoming “nationalist elements” of “feudal” origin that had disengaged from social groups that were “historically obsolete” and embraced the cause of “the people.” The party emphasized in this regard that it wished to construct the nation with the participation of all its children.13 In fact, this reflected much of the practice of Sawaba’s struggle in the 1950s. Representing a small social stratum, it had to mobilize different forces by exploiting all manner of issues and disputes, aggregating underlying demands and directing their full force at the colonial administration. Taking sides in chiefly succession disputes was one example of tapping into local issues that could attract popular if restricted support. It formed, more generally, part of the standard repertoire of African nationalism’s tactics (Hodgkin 1956; Smith 1983).

12This was also true for the occasional resort to violence. The struggle for decolonization also pitted different African interest groups against each other. As elsewhere in (West) Africa, political agitation meant engaging in argument, making propaganda for one’s own side and, if need be, telling lies about or rhetorically taunting one’s political enemies (Last 2005: 37–54). In Niger, this meant organizing “lai-lais” (public demonstrations), that were accompanied by “séances de tam-tam” in which griots sang the party’s praise and mocked the enemy side. This undoubtedly took place in the vernacular and could lead to disorder. In the second half of the 1950s, as political competition intensified through the introduction of universal suffrage, politically motivated violence became more frequent. Strongholds were seen as fiefs in which canvassing by other parties amounted to trespass. This attitude was shared by all political parties alike—not just Sawaba—tapping as it did into local cultural repertoires. It could trigger street fighting and, in the eyes of cadres, helped legitimize the resort to force.

  • 14 Declaration of Djibo Bakary, undated (c. 9 August 1958).

13For Sawabists, however, there was the additional legitimation as provided by Marxism’s revolutionary prescriptions, which justified violence against the “class” enemy (van Walraven 2009b: 75–103). In its struggle against the évolué-based RDA it helped, in this regard, that the latter could be portrayed as “petty bourgeois” and, later, as a group of “neo-colonial lackies” in the pay of French imperialism (see below). Naturally, the RDA, as the party of the western region, represented different social categories, while street fighting between its cadres and Sawaba’s (such as took place in April 1958) (van Walraven 2009b: 75–103) was part of more general political rivalries. The influence of socialist vocabulary on individual cadres’ imagination about these struggles should nevertheless not be discounted. This was the era of heightened Cold War competition, with an Eastern Bloc that, seen from afar, did appear as a genuine alternative to the (colonial) West, with a “really existing socialism” and technological prowess that seemed second to none. As Djibo Bakary observed, this was the “hour of Sputnik.”14 The belief that Sawabists (and others) expressed in the substance of this era cannot be dismissed as solely instrumental. In this global ideological setting, different strands of socialism became the standard “vogues” of striving for grand societal transformation. Their added advantage was that they defended the use of force as an established, legitimate, and successful instrument with which to effect change (Colburn 1994).

14At an official level Sawaba’s objectives targeted—first—aspects of colonial rule, such as abusive behavior of the less-than-enlightened members of the territorial administration. But a developmentalist program, as outlined above, was also added when in 1957 the party won the first elections under universal suffrage and formed Niger’s first autonomous cabinet under the provisions of the metropolitan “Loi Cadre” (ironically through a coalition with a party representing chiefly interests, which nevertheless continued to be the target of attacks by Sawaba’s petit peuple). By then the movement was spurred on by an aspiration to end colonial rule altogether, with the charismatic Bakary harboring a Pan-Africanist desire for the preservation of AOF’s disintegrating structures. Just like Sékou Touré in Guinea (Schmidt 2005), Bakary was pushed by the grass roots (whose energies he had unleashed) to demand full-blown independence.

  • 15 The partial role of the chiefs in Sawaba’s downfall only helped fuel the resentment of its petit pe (...)

15However, during the crisis-ridden year of 1958, its immediacy did not tally with Gaullist calculations about Niger, to all intents and purposes a strategically vital territory. The Gaullists forcefully intervened, toppled the democratically chosen government and with the help of Niger’s chiefs pushed an autonomy regime under the new Fifth Republic that seemed to postpone independence to a distant future. Bakary was replaced with a French-monitored RDA cabinet that rested in part on the country’s chiefly authorities and consigned Sawaba to the political wilderness and, very quickly, a clandestine existence—as happened to so many more radically inclined groups in francophone Africa at the time (van Walraven 2009a: 269–292).15

Socialism and the different lessons in agitation and struggle

  • 16 It was led by Djibo Sekou dit Soumari Goudel, head of the wood, metal and construction workers’ uni (...)
  • 17 It became an FMJD affiliate under the name Union de la jeunesse démocratique du Niger (UJDN).

16In these circumstances the party was forced to use and deepen its ties with the Eastern Bloc. As noted above, these had already developed in previous years, in part through the linkages with the PCF and CGT. Thus, Sawaba’s youth wing, the Union de la jeunesse nigérienne (UJN), not only had relations with the territory’s private sector unions16 but was also a member of the Fédération mondiale de la jeunesse démocratique (FMJD).17 This structure was linked to the communist-dominated World Federation of Trade Unions (known in Niger under its French initials FSM—Fédération syndicale mondiale) to which Bakary, as union leader, had already gained membership in 1953. The FMJD, headquartered in Budapest, organized youth festivals that constituted an important point of contact for Sawaba cadres and communist governments. Numerous Sawaba youths and (union) leaders had attended these gatherings, which assembled youngsters from across the world in East European capitals or cities in the Soviet Union (Rutter 2013). Here they could get in touch with communist officials, gain access to the facilities of the Soviet youth organization Komsomol (which provided political and union training courses), or ask for travel funds. In addition to a range of East European capitals, Sawabists had thus visited various cities in Europe including in Finland, Austria, Italy, and France (where they invariably called on the CGT). Dandouna Aboubakar, the union agitator from Maradi, through the intercession of the International Labor Organization had visited New York, while the FMJD provided plane tickets for the travel party of Mazou Dan Mazel, a humble carpenter from Tessaoua, who traveled to Peking with fellow cadres for a paramilitary training course (they were fêted at a banquet with Chou En-lai, China’s number two).

17There was thus infrastructure in place that Sawaba’s leadership could exploit in its efforts to win back power by violent means, when attempts at rapprochement with the RDA regime had come to naught (in 1960 Niger had acceded to a belated and closely Gaullist-controlled formal independence). In fact, Abdoulaye Mamani, Zinder’s union Sawabist, had already visited the People’s Republic of China in the year of Sawaba’s establishment (for an FMJD conference). In 1959, he visited Moscow, and soon he was followed by Djibo Bakary himself, who in 1962 made his first official tour of Eastern Europe, visiting East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. This visit consecrated communist support, which was two-pronged in character, reflecting Sawaba’s dual strategy to train a guerrilla force with which to overthrow the RDA and to nurture the educated cadres with which to run the country’s administration upon the regime’s anticipated downfall. Clandestine and persecuted, this assistance exposed the party and its cadres to various strains of Marxist thought, depending on the provenance of the support in question.

  • 18 Interview with Issouffou Assoumane, Niamey, 30 January 2003.

18Thus, Bakary was offered a substantial number of scholarships to allow trusted youngsters to pursue academic or vocational training in Eastern Europe (or training courses in political agitation and union work). There is evidence to suggest that several of these students were to greater or lesser extents influenced by Marxist-Leninist doctrines, even if they experienced the downside of life in Eastern Europe, such as racism and state surveillance (Ayih 1961). As far as union and political instruction was concerned these influences were obvious and fed directly into Sawaba’s underground work in Niger. Yet, in the educational system of the Eastern Bloc, ideology was always present and, as a consequence, the movement’s academic and vocational students were also exposed to the tenets of Marxist-Leninist doctrine (van Walraven 2016: 279–297). However, in the course of their East European stay, Sawaba students were only marginally involved in the movement’s subversive project, while Sawaba’s attempt to win back power would in the end fail to materialize (see below). As a consequence, these discursive influences never substantially affected the movement’s ideology or that of its leaders but only had an impact at the level of individual students, influencing personal worldviews.18

  • 19 Les raisons de notre lutte.
  • 20 Ibid.; Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie; Sawaba : organe central du Parti Sawaba du Niger, M (...)
  • 21 See, for example, L’Afrique en marche vers l’unité : Front de libération nationale, III, Algiers, E (...)

19Similarly, those Sawabists who were recruited for the movement’s guerrilla force were exposed, to varying extent, to the discursive dimensions that were part of the military training provided by Sawaba-friendly regimes (Ghana, Algeria, North Vietnam, and communist China). But these discursive aspects also exercised an influence, in a limited way, on the movement’s general ideological outlook. The experience of its fall to the benefit of a party that acquiesced in Niger’s status as a quintessential component of France’s pré carré had turned the notion of “effective independence” into one of Sawaba’s central ideological tenets.19 This, coupled with its clandestine existence and need for Eastern Bloc support, led to a fiercer rhetorical posture in which notions such as “puppets” and “lackeys of imperialism” figured to denounce the RDA’s leaders (although this had antecedents going back to the UDN’s early days). These notions were part of a more general discourse centered around the concept of neo-colonialism, which became sharper when the movement was driven underground20 and which may also betray influences from regimes that were now assisting Sawaba, such as the Front de libération nationale’s (FLN) Algeria and Ghana under Nkrumah (Nkrumah 1965).21 Part of this, too, was a Sawabist anti-corruption discourse that vilified RDA ministers for graft and put them on a par with leaders elsewhere in Africa and the world. Parallels were drawn with, among other persons, Senghor, Houphouët-Boigny, Tshombe, Chiang Kai-shek

20Chiang Kai-shek

22
  • 23 Interviews Ali Talba, Mamoudou Pascal, Mounkaila Albagna & Ahmed Sekou Djibo Bakary, Niamey, 4 & 22 (...)
  • 24 Interviews with Sao Marakan, Niamey, 16 November 2002 and Bachir Boukary, Zinder, 11 February 2003.

21The mention of Batista betrayed a broader influence as exercised by the Cuban revolution. Few Sawabists went to the Caribbean for training (political or vocational-academic—not military),23 yet Castro’s ascent at the very time of the Gaullist putsch against Sawaba meant that memories of the Cuban revolution were fresh. The march on Havana with, initially, no more than a few hundred men (then swelled by enthusiastic hangers-on) would prove an inspiration that blended into the military modalities and underlying notions with which Sawaba would, in 1964, launch a full onslaught on the RDA (see below). Thus, the Cuban revolution, at least in military terms, was a source of inspiration, not only for the leadership but also for the rank and file. Sawaba’s leaders got in touch with the Cuban government on a number of occasions, while in 1963 Che Guevara personally met several Sawabists undergoing guerrilla training in Algeria. In the field in Niger some of these would later carry Che’s literature with them or take their alias from the leader of the revolution himself (such as one Kali Abdou dit Fidel Castro). These men were prepared to engage the enemy on foot at least in part because this was the way it had been done in Cuba too.24

22Algeria’s ideological influence on Sawaba was also more tied to the practicalities of warfare than the political and socioeconomic tenets of socialism. Thus, FLN instructors advised Sawabists to build and nurture popular support in the course of their guerrilla infiltrations and, once successful in battle, introduce wilayas, i.e., self-governing regions in infiltrated and liberated areas. That Niger’s geography, with some exceptions, did not provide the appropriate terrain for the hit-and-run tactics of guerrilla warfare underlines the influence of this Algerian advice.

  • 25 Interview with Mounkaila Albagna, Niamey, 6 December 2003.

23Soviet influences on Sawaba’s military organization were limited (probably because the USSR did not go so far in its backing to provide the movement with arms and military training). Thus, guerrilla squads were generally made up of a few to a dozen men who were subjected to dual leadership consisting of a “chef militaire” and a “political commissar.” The latter would occasionally substitute for the former but especially monitor the loyalties of the guerrillas and the political organization in the areas expected to be liberated. While such practices also existed in other Third World countries, such as North Vietnam and communist China, the political commissar found its origins in the organization of the Soviet Red Army. Thus, one Sawabist, who in 1964 was political commissar in the Téra region in the western Niger River valley, retrospectively referred to Lenin’s lesson that a requirement for revolution was the willingness of the people to rebel, and which would then receive guidance and assistance from the party.25

  • 26 Interview with Soumana Idrissa, Gothèye, 1 November 2005.

24Practical military lessons were also provided in North Vietnam, where a couple of Sawabists were sent for training. In the course of this instruction, they were exposed to various doctrines of Marxist-Leninist and Maoist provenance, but also shown around the battlefield of Dien Bien Phu to drive home the message that the French—the RDA’s key protectors—were not invincible.26 Chinese influences, however, were clearer, notably at the level of socialism’s revolutionary prescriptions. Indoctrination took place in China itself, where Sawabists, expected to assume the command of guerrilla units, were sent. Chinese military instructors abroad were another source of ideological persuasion. They were stationed in Ghana, where the majority of Sawaba’s foot soldiers were drilled, and in North Vietnam, which received a limited number of Sawabists for guerrilla training.

  • 27 Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie.

25But communist China also exerted influence on Sawabist imagination at the level of party statements. The strategy paper that argued the leadership role of the petit peuple was conceived in 1962, almost four years after the movement’s fall, and of necessity rephrased the movement’s discourse to a certain extent in Maoist terms, to this effect explicitly quoting the Great Helmsman himself. Thus, it claimed that the “revolution” would be carried by the peasantry, which would get help from urban workers but itself constituted the “cornerstone” and the revolution’s “inexhaustible reservoir.” This way the struggle to win back power from the RDA could be portrayed as falling within the format of Mao’s ideas on “people’s war,” which argued that the rural masses were pivotal and put a premium on infiltrating the countryside first.27

  • 28 Interviews with Ali Mahamane Madaouki, Zinder, 14 February 2003, and Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, (...)

26The persuasiveness of these discursive elements should not be rejected out of hand, since the urban-based petit peuple did retain links with the peasantry and Niger’s overwhelmingly rural world was never far away from the urban areas. Arguing the importance of the countryside thus had nothing outlandish, even for the city’s little folk. Moreover, left-wing regimes and movements in many Third World countries were accustomed to borrowing from strands of socialist thought—including Maoism—as they constituted the standard fashion of striving for grand societal change (Colburn 1994). In Sawaba’s case, this stimulated reception of ideological tenets that had been formulated in a context radically different from Niger’s. Hence, Sawabists great and small paid lip service to the Maoist idea of armed struggle. Djibo Bakary visited China several times, paying tribute to the assistance of the “Far East,” while Ousmane Dan Galadima, who assumed the command of the guerrilla forces, visited both China and North Vietnam, becoming thoroughly impregnated with Marxist ideas and the example of Mao and his military exploits (including the Long March). Even rank-and-file cadres who were trained elsewhere were to some extent affected by the Chinese example. A Sawabist from Zinder who got his training in Algeria later reminisced how he was taught the need to avoid Niger’s large population centers and sensitize the rural populace, “for the Chinese did it that way, too.” Another guerrillero, when in 1963 returning to Niger’s borders, was reported to be carrying pamphlets on sabotages techniques as well as on Mao Tse-Tung and Karl Marx.28

  • 29 Diop also got military training, but in North Vietnam and Algeria. Interview, Zinder, 13 February 2 (...)
  • 30 Interviews with Amada Bachard and Hamidou Adamou Abdoulaye, Niamey, 14 & 19 December 2009.

27Chinese ideological influence was also exercised through the employment of Sawaba cadres at Radio Peking. Amadou Diop, the socialist Sufist from Zinder, thus became an announcer on the desk of the Hausa service. He and other Sawaba announcers had more privileges than the guerrilla trainees and, though under strict surveillance, could travel in China (during one trip Diop ran into a woman clairvoyant, who told him his fortune—something that made a lasting impression on the lorry driver).29 A few of these announcers even stayed on in the People’s Republic when the guerrillas returned to West Africa for the offensive against Niger’s regime, becoming witness to the Cultural Revolution, during which they joined a group of foreigners studying Mao’s writings. They would wave his Little Red Book in defensive gesture against obtrusive Red Guards.30

  • 31 Fraternité-Hebdo, 14 May 1965; G. Comte, “Les carnets de Nankin,” Est & Ouest, 16–28 February 1966, (...)

28The guerrillas received their training at Nanking, in a camp exclusively made up of Africans. Instruction probably did not include much physical exercise, though weapons practice included the handling of an assortment of arms, grenades and explosives, the laying of mines and even the construction of Molotov cocktails for use in urban warfare. The training, however, seems to have had a marked theoretical bent and for that reason exercised influence in the discursive dimension. Trainees had little notebooks, adorned with dragons and pagodas, in which they penned what amounted to a crash course in Marxism-Leninism, but one that focused less on dialectical materialism than on class struggle and its military dimensions (Fig. 3). Mao’s doctrine of “people’s war” led to Sawabists being taught that the principal aspect of the Chinese revolution was armed struggle and that Niger’s revolution therefore required that the party develop its own army—all armies being an instrument of class war and revolutionary forces fighting for the general good of the population (Mao 1966).31

Fig. 3. A page on shooting practice in a notebook allegedly used by Hassane Djibo in Nanking. (Fraternité Hebdo, 14 May 1965)

Fig. 3. A page on shooting practice in a notebook allegedly used by Hassane Djibo in Nanking. (Fraternité Hebdo, 14 May 1965)

29As these prescriptions were interpreted against the background of Sawabists’ personal experience, they lost much of their unusual character. One guerrilla, an agricultural clerk from Kollo by the name of Hassane Djibo, wrote down that in “a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country” one had to liberate the people and wage a social revolution “to reverse totally the reactionary domination”—Sawaba’s problems with the Sarakuna cannot have been far from mind when these standard phrases were penned. Similarly, the observation that the goal of communist movements was the creation of an “independent, democratic and popular republic” that would nationalize the land at the behest of those who worked it at least alluded to Sawaba’s problems with the Gaullists and the social role it had wished to play. That the proletariat had nothing to lose but “its chains” and, as the “most disciplined class,” had to assume command of the revolution reflected the self-image of petit peuple who had waged street battles in the 1950s and who would continue to fight “imperialism” (read the French), “feudalism” (Niger’s chiefs) and “the comprador bourgeoisie” (the évolué-based RDA). Even outlandish doctrines, such as those related to the Sino-Soviet split in the early 1960s, could be taken in. Thus, the Maoist claim that “revisionists” (i.e., the Soviets and their teachings on “peaceful coexistence”) were mistaken to urge oppressed peoples to achieve their freedom through parliamentary politics sounded logical for a party that had been forcibly evicted from Niger’s representative bodies. But, in the end, the Maoist lessons focused especially on military aspects. Hassane Djibo (Fig. 4) thus faithfully wrote down that:

  • 32 Cited in Comte, “Carnets de Nankin.” All translations KVW.

[t]he road of the armed struggle […] is the road starting from the countryside to encircle the cities. First, one establishes revolutionary bases in the rural areas using these as support and point of departure in the armed struggle for victory at the national level […]. One develops the smaller support bases into bases of great extent […] thus gradually creating […] an encirclement of the cities to finally […] take them. Victory will […] be achieved on the scale of the entire country […]. The revolutionary forces that potentially exist in the countryside are extremely powerful and inexhaustible […]. The large peasant masses are thirsting to free themselves from domination by imperialism and feudalism.32

Fig. 4. Hassane Djibo, Niamey, 2008. (Photo author)

Fig. 4. Hassane Djibo, Niamey, 2008. (Photo author)

Marxism and millenarianism: shifts and constancies in Sawabist imagination

  • 33 Interview with Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, 7 February 2003.
  • 34 M. Aboubakar, Agadez police commissionner, to M. le Directeur de la Sûreté nationale, Niamey, 6 Nov (...)

30If Sawaba’s fighters had taken in the doctrines of Mao Tse-Tung, along with the writings of Che and the lessons of Uncle Ho, this did not make them into carbon copies of Marxist revolutionaries elsewhere. The movement’s leadership was jump-started into an assault on the RDA regime, when in the summer of 1964 the disclosure of domestic cells threatened to undo much of Sawaba’s underground network. The leadership decided, fatally, to order hundreds of guerrillas to leave their base in Ghana and assemble along Niger’s western and southern frontiers. These should be crossed for attacks on regime targets—and all this within a ten-day period. As the regime was, indeed, vulnerable and unpopular, Sawaba had reason to think that it could defeat the RDA, expecting that its fighters would be swelled by an enthusiastic population.33 The secrecy and swiftness built into this attack plan, while carrying their own military logic, had already been imagined earlier, when a lower-placed cadre stationed in Tamanrasset (van Walraven 2005: 507–527) promised a Sawabist back in Niger that “one day at midnight by a singular order to move forward known to all the militants all will be in the hands of Djibo who will then take up the conduct of government.”34

  • 35 Fiche de renseignements, 23–25 November 1963; ANN, 86 MI 3 F 18.9.
  • 36 Interview with Oumarou Janba, Zinder, 10 February 2003.

31This, together with rumors such as that Bakary “had flown” over Agadez and “knew everything that happen[ed],”35 pointed to a millenarian mindset that was familiar with the occult and expressed a yearning for instant deliverance.36 Thus, when the guerrillas embarked on the sudden journey to Niger, they took everything they had with them—not just weapons but also personal belongings, carried in traveling bags, even suitcases. Their luggage included propaganda leaflets, photographs of Sawaba’s leader, “fetishes” with which to ward off danger, written mission orders, and lists of domestic Sawabists to be contacted, in code—or just in plain text.

  • 37 Later he again emphasized confidence in the magical cap. Le Niger, 16 May 1966. In one interview he (...)
  • 38 Sawabists staged various attacks on regime targets while infiltrations were to continue until mid-1 (...)

32It was a social movement going home, rather than a guerrilla force on the verge of hit-and-run attacks and intent on avoiding capture. This also became clear from the instructions to leave the populace unharmed and focus assaults on RDA targets. With the regime forewarned and the population terrorized by militias, Sawaba’s combat instructions transformed the guerrillas into sitting ducks that could be easily wiped out. Though armed to the teeth, they let themselves be cornered by whipped-up villagers—such as Dandouna Aboubakar, the one-time union worker from Maradi, who was lynched. This betrayed an attitude that was still inspired by Sawaba’s experience as a social movement during the 1950s, geared towards agitation and canvassing rather than military engagement. Beneath the ideological veneer of Maoist instruction, the Sawabists formed a mélange of political activists/guerrilla combatants, who, instead of bullying the populace, walked into battle as the street fighters of old. Armed, yes, but still expecting to please their electorate and lead it on the march to Niamey—their Havana—to force an immediate end to suffering. Millenarian, and not Marxist or military, in this mentalité lay the tragedy of their defeat. Amadou Diop, the one-time Sufist announcer at the desk of Radio Peking, when in 1965 undertaking a failed attempt on the life of Niger’s president, took the precautionary step of sowing protective “fetishes” under his skin and wearing a magical cap to prevent capture.37 If the transformation of street fighters into hardened guerrillas had certainly progressed,38 their discursive imagination remained grounded in Niger’s cultural context, in which faith in the magic of invisible forces (Ellis, Ter Haar 2004) fed into simmering belief in instantaneous change.

  • 39 Sawaba had extensive relations with a similar movement in Northern Nigeria, i.e., the setting of th (...)

33But it was precisely Marxist ideology and its offshoots that harbored an aspect of mysticism, which encouraged their reception in contexts affected by millenarian mentalities. As pointed out by Colburn, Marxist-Leninist doctrines, in all their variations, argued the wisdom of a Herculean transformation of society through a world-shattering struggle to destroy the old order. In doing so they often provided little precise guidance how to effect a break with the past, let alone a coherent plan on government in the future (Colburn 1994). The history of socialist thought and action in nineteenth-twentieth century Russia is a typical example of the enduring influence of spiritual ways of imagining (Slezkin 2017; Read 1979), perhaps also of an inability to conceptually distinguish “religion” and “politics.” In this sense socialism, at least in historical-cultural contexts such as Africa, has been less of a political ideology than a manifestation of mystical inspiration, with the magic of swelling numbers effecting change where none had been predicted. This romanticized conception of revolutionary transformation (van Walraven, Abbink 2003: 33–34), more broadly, fit well in the context of a region whose history had for long been marked by the millenarist social agitation of Islamic renewal movements.39 More specifically, it matched the mindset of Sawabists whose energy came not from ideology but from anger (van Walraven 2010), a passion that perhaps more easily facilitated internalization of exotic doctrine. The painstaking way in which men like Dodo Hamballi, a guerrilla in the Zinder region, worked on their Chinese notebooks, copying out the lessons of the Great Helmsman or reporting on the representatives of “feudalism” in their sector, suggests confidence in alien formulas working miracles.

Bibliography

34Ayih Michel, 1961. Ein Afrikaner in Moskau, Cologne, Wissenschaft und Politik.

35Bakary Djibo, 1992. Silence ! On décolonise : Itinéraire politique et syndical d’un militant africain, Paris, L’Harmattan.

36Colburn Forrest D., 1994. The Vogue of Revolution in Poor Countries, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

37Cooper Frederick, 2008. “Possibility and Constraint: African Independence in Historical Perspective,” Journal of African History, vol. 49, no. 2: 167–196.

38Ellis Stephen, Ter Haar Gerrie, 2004. Worlds of Power: Religious Thought and Political Practice in Africa, New York, Oxford University Press.

39Fluchard Claude, 1995. Le PPN-RDA et la décolonisation du Niger 1946-1960, Paris, L’Harmattan.

40Friedland William H., Rosberg Carl G. (eds), 1964. African Socialism, Stanford, Stanford University Press.

41Grundy Kenneth W., 1964. “The ‘Class Struggle’ in Africa: An Examination of Conflicting Theories,” Journal of Modern African Studies, vol. 2, no. 3: 379–393.

42Hodgkin Thomas, 1956. Nationalism in Colonial Africa, London, Muller.

43Last Murray, 2005. “Towards a Political History of Youth in Muslim Northern Nigeria, 1750–2000,” in Jon Abbink and Ineke van Kessel (eds.), Vanguard or Vandals: Youth, Politics and Conflict in Africa, Leiden and Boston, Brill: 37–54.

44Mao Tse-Tung, 1966. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, Beijing, edition Foreign Language Press.

45Monga Célestin, 1996. The Anthropology of Anger: Civil Society and Democracy in Africa, Boulder and London, Lynne Rienner.

46Nkrumah Kwame, 1965. Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, London, Nelson.

47Read Christopher, 1979. Religion, Revolution and the Russian Intelligentsia 1900–1912, London and Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

48Rutter Nick, 2013. Enacting Communism: The World Youth Festival, 1945–1975, Ph.D. Dissertation, New Haven, Yale University.

49Saul John S., 1973. “On African Populism,” in Giovanni Arrighi and John S. Saul (eds.), Essays on the Political Economy of Africa, New York and London, Monthly Review Press: 152–179.

50Schmidt Elizabeth, 2005. Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939–1958, Portsmouth, Heinemann.

51Slezkin Yuri, 2017. The House of Government: A Saga of the Russian Revolution, Princeton, Princeton University Press.

52Smith Anthony D., 1983. State and Nation in the Third World: The Western State and African Nationalism, New York, St Martin’s Press.

53Suret-Canale Jean, 1994. Les groupes d’études communistes (GEC) en Afrique noire, Paris, L’Harmattan.

54Van Walraven Klaas, 2005. “From Tamanrasset: The Struggle of Sawaba and the Algerian Connection (1957-1966),” Journal of North African Studies, vol. 10, no. 3–4: 507–527.

55Van Walraven Klaas, 2009a. “Decolonization by Referendum: The Anomaly of Niger and the Fall of Sawaba, 1958-1959,” Journal of African History, vol. 50, no. 5: 269–292.

56Van Walraven Klaas, 2009b. “Vehicle of Sedition: The Role of Transport Workers in Sawaba’s Rebellion in Niger, 1954–1966,” in Jan-Bart Gewald, Sabine Luning and Klaas van Walraven (eds.), The Speed of Change: Motor Vehicles and People in Africa, 1890–2000, Leiden and Boston, Brill: 75–103.

57Van Walraven Klaas, 2010. “Sawaba, Niger and the Revolution of a Social Movement (1954–1966),” unpubl. paper.

58Van Walraven Klaas, 2011. “Djibo Bakary,” in Henry Louis Gates and Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong (eds.), Dictionary of African Biography, Oxford, Oxford University Press, vol. 1: 355–357.

59Van Walraven Klaas, 2013. The Yearning for Relief: A History of the Sawaba Movement in Niger, Leiden and Boston, Brill.

60Van Walraven Klaas, 2016. “Sawaba’s Maquis and its Students in Eastern Europe, 1958–1969,” in Françoise Blum, Pierre Guidi and Ophélie Rillon (eds.), Étudiants africains en mouvements. Contribution à une histoire des années 1968, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne: 279–297.

61Van Walraven Klaas, 2017. Le désir de calme. L’histoire du mouvement Sawaba au Niger, Rennes, Presses universitaires de Rennes.

62Van Walraven Klaas, n.d. “From Kano: Clandestine Politics in Niger and Nigeria and Sawaba’s Cross-Border Ties with NEPU (1958–1966),” unpubl. paper.

63Van Walraven Klaas, Abbink Jon, 2003. “Rethinking Resistance in African History: An Introduction,” in Jon Abbink, Mirjam de Bruijn and Klaas van Walraven (eds.), Rethinking Resistance: Revolt and Violence in African History, Leiden and Boston, Brill: 1–40.

Notes

1 Singular, talaka.

2 In the context of this chapter, the term “class” refers to groups that are at least partially defined in terms of horizontal stratification. This does not imply that no vertical dimensions were present, nor that a Western form of societal make-up is suggested. These issues were much debated in Africanist literature in the 1960s and 1970s. See the classic article (Grundy 1964: 379–393).

3 In English, this term has a pejorative connotation eschewed here.

4 For a contemporary comparative assessment, see Ministère de la FOM. Cabinet du ministre. Bureau d’études no. 822/BE. Bulletin de renseignements. Origine: Haussaire AOF, 31 March 1958; Synthèse politique, no. 085 CP/BE, July–August 1958, 5 September 1958; L’Action communiste en AOF; July 1958; Centre des archives d’outre-mer, Aix-en-Provence, Cart.2189/D.3, 3684 & 2246.

5 As Sawaba’s core consisted of urban petit peuple, it had no singular regional base. Its fiefs were everywhere where there were cities. It was thus strong in the western Niger River valley, as well as in the center and east.

6 Union démocratique nigérienne, Lettre ouverte aux Nigériens, Paris, 30 April 1954 (Fluchard 1995: 374).

7 Interviews with Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, 7–8 February 2003, 16 February 2006, Niamey, 23 February 2008.

8 In his case (but which was not unique), this was tied to a strong belief in the magical powers of amulets, rings and other “fetishes.” See below.

9 Le Démocrate: Organe bimensuel de l’Union démocratique nigérienne, 4 February 1956.

10 Sawaba Party, Pour l’indépendance effective du Niger : les raisons de notre lutte, Bamako, Bureau du Parti Sawaba, 15 January 1961.

11 Ibid.

12 Sawaba Party, Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie, Niamey, Bureau politique, 1962.

13 Ibid.

14 Declaration of Djibo Bakary, undated (c. 9 August 1958).

15 The partial role of the chiefs in Sawaba’s downfall only helped fuel the resentment of its petit peuple supporters vis-à-vis chiefly authority.

16 It was led by Djibo Sekou dit Soumari Goudel, head of the wood, metal and construction workers’ union; Mamadou Andre dit Moussa, a cook and leader of the domestics’ union; and Hima Dembele, editor of the union organ Talaka.

17 It became an FMJD affiliate under the name Union de la jeunesse démocratique du Niger (UJDN).

18 Interview with Issouffou Assoumane, Niamey, 30 January 2003.

19 Les raisons de notre lutte.

20 Ibid.; Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie; Sawaba : organe central du Parti Sawaba du Niger, March and May 1963 and December 1964.

21 See, for example, L’Afrique en marche vers l’unité : Front de libération nationale, III, Algiers, El Moudjahid, 1960.

22 Lettre ouverte aux Nigériens, 30 April 1954; Gaskya. Organe officiel du Parti Sawaba, no. 11, 5 September 1961; Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie; Sawaba : Organe central du Parti Sawaba du Niger, March and May 1963 and December 1964.

23 Interviews Ali Talba, Mamoudou Pascal, Mounkaila Albagna & Ahmed Sekou Djibo Bakary, Niamey, 4 & 22 February 2003, 29 November 2003 & 1 March 2008; Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, 7 February 2003.

24 Interviews with Sao Marakan, Niamey, 16 November 2002 and Bachir Boukary, Zinder, 11 February 2003.

25 Interview with Mounkaila Albagna, Niamey, 6 December 2003.

26 Interview with Soumana Idrissa, Gothèye, 1 November 2005.

27 Pour un Front démocratique de la patrie.

28 Interviews with Ali Mahamane Madaouki, Zinder, 14 February 2003, and Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, 7 February 2003; Premier ministre. Service de documentation extérieure et de contre-espionnage (SDECE) Destinataire no. 541, 30 July 1963; 10 T 719, dossier 2: activités du parti Sawaba d’opposition, enquête au sujet de l’attentat manqué en 1963 [sic] contre le président Diori (1962–1966); affaire Diallo, December 1963 (1962–1966); Service historique de l’Armée de Terre, Vincennes, 10 T 719/D.2.

29 Diop also got military training, but in North Vietnam and Algeria. Interview, Zinder, 13 February 2003.

30 Interviews with Amada Bachard and Hamidou Adamou Abdoulaye, Niamey, 14 & 19 December 2009.

31 Fraternité-Hebdo, 14 May 1965; G. Comte, “Les carnets de Nankin,” Est & Ouest, 16–28 February 1966, no. 357: 27–30; Le Niger, 31 May 1965.

32 Cited in Comte, “Carnets de Nankin.” All translations KVW.

33 Interview with Ousmane Dan Galadima, Madaoua, 7 February 2003.

34 M. Aboubakar, Agadez police commissionner, to M. le Directeur de la Sûreté nationale, Niamey, 6 November 1963; Archives nationales du Niger (hereinafter as ANN), 86 MI 3 F 18.9 (Direction de la Sûreté nationale/Commissariat de police de la Ville d’Agadez: Notes d’information concernant le Sawaba en liaison avec Tamanrasset).

35 Fiche de renseignements, 23–25 November 1963; ANN, 86 MI 3 F 18.9.

36 Interview with Oumarou Janba, Zinder, 10 February 2003.

37 Later he again emphasized confidence in the magical cap. Le Niger, 16 May 1966. In one interview he showed the author markings where he had had the “fetishes” under his skin and in the course of another interview he exchanged views with Ingrid Jäger, the author’s wife, about the different rings he wore, which allegedly protected him when traveling in airplanes. His house in Zinder was littered with tablets with Qur’anic texts. Interviews with Amadou Diop, Zinder, 13 February 2003 & 15 February 2006.

38 Sawabists staged various attacks on regime targets while infiltrations were to continue until mid-1966.

39 Sawaba had extensive relations with a similar movement in Northern Nigeria, i.e., the setting of the Sokoto Caliphate (van Walraven n.d.).

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Ousmane Dan Galadima, Niamey, 2008. (Photo author)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51355/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 611k
Titre Fig. 2. Amadou Diop, Zinder, 2003. (Photo author)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51355/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 1,1M
Titre Fig. 3. A page on shooting practice in a notebook allegedly used by Hassane Djibo in Nanking. (Fraternité Hebdo, 14 May 1965)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51355/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 668k
Titre Fig. 4. Hassane Djibo, Niamey, 2008. (Photo author)
URL http://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/docannexe/image/51355/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 747k

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