Niger Army declares support for coup plotters

Niger’s army command declared its support for the coup initiated by soldiers of the presidential guard on Thursday, stating that their priority was to prevent destabilization in the country.

The army had to “preserve the physical integrity” of the president and his family and avoid “a deadly confrontation… that could create a bloodbath and affect the security of the population,” a statement signed by the army chief of staff said.

President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou called on democratic forces in the country to resist the power grab, while western officials expressed uncertainty about the status of the coup attempt.

In a late-night televised address, the soldiers announced that President Bazoum had been stripped of power and the republic’s institutions suspended, making it the seventh coup in West and Central Africa since 2020.

Earlier, the soldiers had surrounded and blocked access to the presidential palace in the capital Niamey, where the president was located.

In a social media post on Thursday morning, Bazoum pledged to safeguard the “hard-won” democratic achievements in Niger, a crucial ally for Western powers engaged in counterinsurgency efforts in the Sahel region.

According to a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Massoudou also urged “democrats and patriots” to thwart the “attempted coup” and protect the country’s democratic values.

As citizens in Niamey woke up to heavy rain, the city remained calm on Thursday morning amidst closed borders and a nationwide curfew imposed by the coup instigators.

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