UN chief demands immediate release of detained Nigerien president

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Thursday for the immediate release of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum who was detained in an attempted coup.

”I spoke to President Bazoom to express our full solidarity to him. Now, I wish to speak directly to those detaining him, release President Bazoom immediately and unconditionally, stop obstructing the democratic governance of the country and respect the rule of law,” Guterres told reporters at UN headquarters in New York.

The Nigerien presidency confirmed that a coup attempt was carried out early Wednesday by soldiers who sealed access to Bazoum’s official residence.

Guterres strongly condemned the assault against the democratically-elected government.

He warned of a disturbing trend in the Sahel region and said, “Successive unconstitutional changes of government are having terrible effects on development and the lives of civilian populations.”

Niger, a landlocked West African nation, has a tumultuous history with coups. It has faced various coups and coup attempts since gaining independence from France in 1960.

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