Monday, June 24, 2024

Niger: Soldiers overthrow President Bazoum in a coup

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Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey
Elvis Adjetey is an experienced African journalist who has worked with top media brands in Ghana where he is based.

The President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum has been removed by power by soldiers in a coup carried out on Wednesday.

He was earlier seized by his guards amidst fears of a coup attempt with no gunshots heard.

The soldiers late Wednesday evening announced the success of their action through a statement read by one Colonel Amadou Abdramane.

He was seated and flanked by nine other officers who said defence and security forces had decided to “Put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”

Abdramane said Niger’s borders have also been closed and a nationwide curfew now in action with all institutions of the country suspended.

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The soldiers also warned against any foreign intervention and said they will respect Bazoum’s wellbeing.

The African Union earlier condemned the attempted regime change, describing it as “unacceptable” and urged the soldiers involved to return to barracks immediately.

The main West African regional bloc ECOWAS also called on the soldiers to free President Bazoum.

The United Nations, United States and EU have all denounced the development.

French Foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Paris was watching the situation carefully, but “condemned attempts to take power by force.”

Mohamed Bazoum
Mohamed Bazoum

Bazoum’s presidential guards reportedly blocked access to his residence and key ministries on Wednesday.

There were media reports of the former president, Mohammed Issoufou, and other former leaders involved in talks to prevent further escalation of the crisis.

A source cited by AFP as being close to the deposed president had said that the talks had broken down.

Mediation efforts

The president of neighbouring Benin, Patrice Talon, was 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.

The military takeover in Niger is the seventh coup in the West and Central Africa region since 2020.

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.

Niger makes several arrests after foiled coup attempt


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