Military takeovers on the rise in Africa as Niger soldiers declare coup on TV
A group of soldiers appeared on Niger’s national television on Wednesday, announcing a coup and closure of all land and air borders until the situation stabilises.
They said they had dissolved the constitution and suspended all of the country’s institutions, adding the heads of the ministries would now deal with the day-to-day business.
President Mohamed Bazoum, who was democratically elected in 2021, has been kept in detention by troops from the presidential guard since early on Wednesday.
Allies Pledge Support And Solidarity
A close ally of Western nations, Bazoum was promised the “unwavering support” of Washington in a call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken following the soldiers’ announcement.
The UN said its secretary general, Antonio Guterres, offered the Niger president his “full support and solidarity”, while calling on “all actors involved to exercise restraint”.
On behalf of the West African economic bloc ECOWAS, Benin’s President Patrice Talon has arrived in Niger on a mediation mission.
Although Talon stressed the importance of peace and harmony, he said “all means”, if necessary, would be used to restore constitutional order in the country.
Niger’s Security Situation And Poor Governance In Focus
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, the country in West Africa has experienced four coups and numerous attempted coups.
Col Maj Amadou Abdramane, flanked by nine other soldiers, said: “We … have decided to put an end to the regime you know,” citing the deteriorating security situation and poor governance.
He asked all external partners to avoid interfering, adding a night curfew would be implemented from 22:00 until 5:00 local time until further announcement.
Earlier on Wednesday, scores of people took to the streets of Niamey, the capital, in support of Bazoum. Soldiers behind the coup attempt fired shots to disperse the demonstrators.