On national television, soldiers in the republic of Niger in West Africa announced a coup.
They claimed to have locked the country’s borders, repealed the constitution, and suspended all institutions.
Since early on Wednesday, soldiers from the presidential guard have been keeping Niger President Mohamed Bazoum in custody.
In a phone call, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured him of Washington’s “unwavering support.”
Also claiming to have spoken with the president, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres extended the UN’s complete support.
Mr. Bazoum is a crucial ally of the West in the conflict with Islamist militancy in West Africa.
Recent Islamist uprisings have resulted in coups in two neighboring nations, Mali and Burkina Faso.
The new military commanders in both nations are at odds with France, the old colonial power that had dominated Niger as well.
Unknown to the public, Mr. Bazoum remarked in a tweet on Thursday morning that the “hard-won gains will be safeguarded” and that Nigerians who value democracy will take care of the situation.
Hassoumi Massoudou, the foreign minister, proclaimed himself to be the head of state and urged all Democrats to “make this adventure fail.”
Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane made the following statement on television on Wednesday: “We, the defence and security forces… have decided to put an end to the dictatorship you know.
This comes after weak economic and social governance and the security situation’s ongoing worsening.
The heads of the ministries would handle day-to-day operations, he added, adding that all of the nation’s institutions had been halted
He said, “All external partners are requested not to interfere.” “Until the situation has stabilized, land and air borders are closed.”
He stated that until further notice, a nighttime curfew would be in place from 22:00 to 5:00 local time.
The National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), according to Col Maj Abdramane, was represented by the soldiers.
Mr. Blinken demanded the release of President Bazoum following the soldiers’ television broadcast.
“What it clearly constitutes,” he said at a news conference in New Zealand, “is an attempt to seize power by force and to disrupt the constitution.”
Russian Wagner mercenaries with heavy weapons are aiding the military administration in Mali’s struggle against jihadist terrorists there. The upheaval in Niger adds to Western concerns about Wagner activities and the volatility of the Sahel area.
President Vladimir Putin is gathering African leaders in St. Petersburg on Thursday in an effort to increase Russian influence in that continent.
“Condemns in the strongest terms the attempt to seize power by force” in Niger, according to the West African economic bloc Ecowas.
Patrice Talon, the president of Benin, has arrived in the nation’s capital Niamey on a mediation mission on behalf of Ecowas.
The ideal would be for everything to be done in peace and harmony, but Mr. Talon stated that “all means” would be utilized, if necessary, to restore constitutional order in Niger.
Crowds in Niamey flocked to the streets earlier on Wednesday to show their support for Mr. Bazoum. A BBC reporter also observed heavily armed presidentially supported soldiers stationed close to the public broadcaster.
Although the soldiers supporting the coup fired rounds to quell the protestors, the city was largely quiet.
Two Islamist insurgencies are plaguing Niger: one in the south-west that originated in Mali in 2015 and the other in the south-east that is being led by jihadists headquartered in northeastern Nigeria.
The nation is home to militant organizations linked to both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The democratically elected president of Bazoum, who took office in 2021, is a close ally of France and other Western countries.
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Niger has experienced four coups as well as countless coup attempts.
- TikTok: A US Judge Overturns Montana’s Prohibition, Citing Free Expression
- Ukraine War: Zelensky Argues Fortification of Front Lines must be Expedited
- Palestinians who have been Released Allege Maltreatment in Israeli Jails
- Cristiano Ronaldo is Facing a $1 billion Lawsuit Over Binance Advertisements
- As Real Madrid Defeats Napoli, Bellingham Establishes a New Scoring Record