The President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum has been seized by his guards amidst fears of a coup attempt in the West African country. No gunshots have been heard.
The African Union has condemned the development describing them as “unacceptable” and urged the soldiers involved to return to barracks immediately.
— African Union (@_AfricanUnion) July 26, 2023
The main West African regional bloc ECOWAS has called on the soldiers to free President Bazoum.
The United Nations, United States and EU have all denounced the attempt to seize power.
French Foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Paris was watching the situation carefully, but “condemned attempts to take power by force.”
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Bazoum’s presidential guards reportedly blocked access to his residence and key ministries.
There are media reports of the former president, Mohammed Issoufou, and other former leaders involved in talks to prevent further escalation of the crisis.
There is no signal what progress has been made so far with ongoing talks. A source cited by AFP as being close to the president said that the talks had broken down.
The said source said the guards, who have refused to release the president, have been issued an ultimatum by the army.
“The Army and the National Guard are ready to attack” those involved in this incident, the president’s office said in a tweet earlier.
“The President of the Republic and his family are doing well,” it added.
The president of neighbouring Benin, Patrice Talon, is expected to travel to Niger to mediate after meeting with Nigeria’s president and ECOWAS leader Bola Tinubu.
“I believe that all means will be used, if necessary, to restore constitutional order in Niger, but the ideal would be for everything to be done in peace and harmony,” Talon told reporters in Abuja.
Local media reports also mentioned that forces loyal to the president are reportedly stationed around the presidential palace and the national broadcaster.
But there is reported calm in the capital, Niamey, with normal traffic on the road and full internet access.
Niger’s neighbours, Mali and Burkina Faso, have all experienced coups triggered by jihadist uprisings in recent years.
Niger is grappling with two Islamist insurgencies – one in the south-west, which swept in from Mali in 2015, and the other in the south-east, involving jihadists based in north-eastern.
A military takeover could further complicate efforts to secure the Sahel region from jihadist insurgency.
Sourced from Africa Feeds