Niger’s military announces coup, President Bazoum’s government removed

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  • Niger soldiers say President Bazoum’s government has been removed 
  • Colonel declares borders closed 
  • Takeover seventh coup in West, Central Africa region since 2020 
  • Niger pivotal ally for Western powers in battling insurgencies. 
  • Bazoum’s election was the first democratic transition of power in a state that has witnessed four military coups since independence from France in 1960. 
  • The United States urged Bazoum’s release, while the European Union, United Nations, France, and others condemned the uprising and said they were following the events with concern. 

Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has been removed from power, according to a group of soldiers who appeared on the West African nation’s national television late on Wednesday, hours after the president was held in the presidential palace.

Reading from a statement, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, seated and flanked by nine other officers, said defence and security forces had decided: “Put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”

Nigerian troopers have openly announced a coup on national television, pronouncing the disintegration of the constitution, suspension of organizations, and conclusion of lines. President Mohamed Bazoum is being held by the official guard since the coup’s inception.

Tending to the people, Col Maj Amadou Abdramane, with nine others formally dressed fighters behind him, said on Wednesday, “We, the protection and security powers… have chosen to stop the system you know.”

They said “all establishments” in the nation would be suspended, borders were shut, and a time limit had been forced “until additional notification”, from 10 pm to 5 am.

On Wednesday, members of Niger’s presidential campaign besieged political capital in what the African Community said was an attempt to overthrow the country’s elected leader. The US said the rebels had captured President Mohammad Bazum. A tweet in the Niger government document revealed that elements of the elite armed forces were involved in “anti-revolutionary” activities and were trying in vain to gain the support of other security forces.

Bazoum and his family are said to be in good health, but the Niger Army and National Guard are “ready to attack” if those involved in the operation do not escape. Yet leaders from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States described the situation in Niger’s capital as an effort to oppose Bazoum, who was elected president for the first time since 2007. Peace instead of hardship, freedom. Independence from French rule in 1960.

The French and American governments have similarly voiced their concerns and encouraged conservatives to turn the other way. Bazoum’s government has made Niger one of the West’s main partners against the Islamic insurgency in Africa’s Sahel region.

Roads encompassing the official royal residence in the capital, Niamey, were closed off Wednesday, similar to some administration services. In the afternoon, many individuals reciting “No coup d’etat” marched in support of the president.

Various rounds of gunfire that seemed to come from the official castle scattered the demonstrators and sent individuals scrambling for cover, according to a Press reporter at the scene.

Bazoum’s election was the first democratic transition of power in a state that has witnessed four military coups since independence from France in 1960.

The United States says it has spent around $500 million since 2012 to help Niger boost its security. Germany announced in April that it would take part in a three-year European military mission aimed at improving the country’s military.

Early on Wednesday presidential guards, headed by General Omar Tchiani, took over the presidency, prompting regional leaders to organize a swift mediation mission to try to prevent a coup.

Frustrations over state failures to prevent violent attacks on towns and villages have partly spurred two coups in Mali and two in Burkina Faso since 2020. A junta also snatched power in Guinea in 2021, contributing to instability in a region that had begun to shed its reputation as a “coup belt”.

There was a thwarted coup attempt in Niger in March 2021, when a military unit tried to seize the presidential palace days before the recently elected Bazoum was due to be sworn in.

The African Union and West African regional bloc ECOWAS earlier on Wednesday condemned what they called an attempted coup d’etat.

The president of neighboring Benin, Patrice Talon, flew into Niger on Wednesday afternoon to assess the situation after meeting with Nigerian President and ECOWAS Chairman Bola Tinubu. “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, Nigeria’s capital.

The United States urged Bazoum’s release, while the European Union, United Nations, France and others condemned the uprising and said they were following the events with concern.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke with Bazoum when he was being held in the presidential palace, said the U.S. economic and security partnership with Niger depended on the continuation of democratic governance.

(With inputs from agencies)

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