Coup in Niger Republic as soldiers detains President Mohamed Bazoum

…World leaders condemned coup

President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic is being detained in the
Presidential Palace in Niamey, the capital by soldiers a circumstances neighbouring countries and World leaders condemned as an attempted coup.

The United Nations, United States , EU, African Union ,ECOWAS immediately denounced any attempt to seize power.

The Palace housing President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger in Niamey has been blocked by soldiers of the Presidential Guard. Several ministries were also affected by the blockade.

There were fears of coup as the guards have detained the president.

The disgruntled soldiers sealed off access to the president’s residence and offices. The soldiers also refused to release the president.

The army has reportedly given the renegade soldiers ultimatum.

The president’s office tweeted that the guards unsuccessfully tried to get support from the military in their “anti-republican” efforts.

Sources said talks were underway to ensure that it did not turn to a shut out between loyalists and renegade.

Reports say the immediate former president, Mohammed Issoufou, and other former presidents are currently involved in talks to stop the situation from escalating.

“The President of the Republic and his family are doing well. The Army and the National Guard are ready to attack” those involved in this incident, the president’s office added.

The landlocked West African state has experienced four coups since independence from France in 1960, as well as numerous attempted coups.

President Bazoum, who was democratically elected in 2021, is a close ally of France.

The country’s last coup occurred in February 2010, overturning then President Mamadou Tandja.

Niger is grappling with two jihadist campaigns – one in the south-west, which swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015, and the other in the south-east, involving jihadists based in north-eastern Nigeria.

Militant groups allied to both al-Qaeda and Islamic State are active in the country.

Two neighbouring countries, Mali and Burkina Faso, have experienced coups recently triggered by jihadist uprisings.

Nigeria another neighbouring country immediately condemned the action as unpleasant developments.

President Bola Tinubu swiftly reacted to the reports that some elements in the military were holding the President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, captive in the presidential palace, signposting a possible coup and overthrow of government.

President Tinubu, reaction is contained in a statement he personally signed as Chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, entitled “UNPLEASANT DEVELOPMENTS IN NIGER REPUBLIC”, reads: “Information filtering in from the Republic of Niger indicates some unpleasant developments around the country’s highest political leadership.

“It should be quite clear to all players in the Republic of Niger that the leadership of the ECOWAS Region and all lovers of democracy around the world will not tolerate any situation that incapacitates the democratically-elected government of the country.

“The ECOWAS leadership will not accept any action that impedes the smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa.

“I wish to say that we are closely monitoring the situation and developments in Niger and we will do everything within our powers to ensure democracy is firmly planted, nurtured, well rooted and thrives in our region.

“I am in close consultation with other leaders in our region, and we shall protect our hard-earned democracy in line with the universally acceptable principle of constitutionalism.

“As the Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, I state without equivocation that Nigeria stands firmly with the elected government in Niger and equally conveys the absolute resolve of leaders in our sub-region that we shall not waiver or flinch on our stand to defend and preserve constitutional order.”

Bola Ahmed Tinubu
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman, ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government
July 26, 2023″
According to Reuters,
A military takeover in the former French colony could further complicate Western efforts to help countries in the Sahel region fight a jihadist insurgency that has spread from Mali over the past decade.

Land-locked Niger has become a pivotal ally for Western powers seeking to help fight the insurgency but facing growing acrimony from the new juntas in charge in Mali and Burkina Faso. It is also a key ally of the European Union in the fight against irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa.

“The EU condemns any attempt to destabilize democracy and threaten the stability of Niger,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a post.

New Global Financial Pact Summit in Paris
President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum delivers a speech during the opening session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit at the Palais Brogniart in Paris on June 22, 2023.

France also condemned any attempt to seize power and advised French citizens in Niamey to act with vigilance. The United States said it was deeply concerned by developments.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on all actors to exercise restraint, his office said in a statement.

France moved troops to Niger from Mali last year after its relations with interim authorities there soured. It has also withdrawn special forces from Burkina Faso due to similar tensions.

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.

“Bazoum has been the West’s only hope in the Sahel region. France, the U.S. and the EU have spent much of their resources in the region to bolster Niger and its security forces,” said Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel programme for Germany’s Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung think-tank.

He added that a coup would create an opportunity for Russia and other actors to spread their influence in Niger.

Frustrations over state failures to prevent violent attacks on towns and villages partly spurred two coups in Mali and two in Burkina Faso since 2020