Tension is high in the Republic of Niger as soldiers have reportedly blockaded the presidential palace as well as several ministries in the capital, Niamey and anxiety about the fate of President Mohamed Bazoum grows in what looks like an attempted coup in the country.
Reports said that no shots were fired and it’s not clear if this is an attempt by the presidential guard to seize power.
The president’s office tweeted that the guards unsuccessfully tried to get support from the military in their “anti-republican” efforts.
Reports said that President Bazoum is in his residence with his family, but the enraged soldiers are being assuaged as talks by former President Mohammed Issoufou and other past leaders are underway to bring the situation under control.
“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 regional economic bloc ECOWAS is said to have condemned the development, adding that it will not tolerate any more coups in West Africa.
The landlocked West African state has had 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, overthrowing the then President Mamadou Tandja.
Niger has been beset by two Jihadists uprising – 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 linked to both al-Qaeda and Islamic State have troubled the country in recent years leading to deaths and destruction.
Countries in West Africa are increasingly being plagued by coups in recent times. Mali Guinea and Burkina Faso have experienced coups recently amid a difficult economy and high poverty rate.