Niger soldiers declare coup on national TV: claim to have overthrown Niger’s president

Niger soldiers announced on state television late on Wednesday that they had overthrown Niger’s democratically elected president as a result of the country’s deteriorating security.

After hours of being detained by members of the presidential guard at the politician’s official residence, soldiers in Niger claimed to have ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from office late on Wednesday.

Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane¬†declared on national television that “the defense and security forces… have decided to put an end to the regime you are familiar with.”

All institutions had been shut down, the soldiers claimed, and security forces were in charge of the situation. External partners were urged not to get involved by the mutineers.

In response to the act, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized President Bazoum’s significance as a Western ally in battling Islamist militancy in West Africa and expressed his unwavering support for him.

The foreign minister of Niger’s former colonizer France, Catherine Colonna, condemned “all attempts to take power by force.”

Germany’s Foreign Ministry also called for Bazoum to be released. “Violence is not a means to enforce political or personal interests,” the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

After getting elected in April 2021, Bazoum took office in a nation that had been beset by jihadist insurgency in recent years, chronic instability, and extreme poverty.

He was the former president Mahamadou Issoufou’s right-hand man and served as interior minister before he resigned voluntarily after two terms in office. Since gaining its independence from France in 1960, the nation had experienced four additional military coups. In the Sahel region, which has been shaken by an ongoing Islamist insurgency, Bazoum was one of a dwindling number of pro-Western leaders.