Borders have been closed, curfew imposed and state institutions shut down after a group of soldiers seized national television to announce Niger’s President Mohammed Bazoum had been ousted.
The soldiers, led by Colonel Amadou Abdramane, read from a statement in the early hours of Thursday July 27, stating the defense and security forces made the decision to “terminate the current regime due to the worsening security situation and poor governance.”
Residents say they are worried a possible retaliation from soldiers loyal to President Bazoum can lead to a long war. With movements limited, human rights activists are raising concerns over future events in Niger.
“For now we are fine. My only fear is that if the guys of Bazoum come to rescue him, it will lead to a serious war and the people will suffer,” said Ali Oumar, a resident in the country’s capital Niamey.
Mr. Bazoum was elected into office on April 2, 2021. He survived an attempted coup in March the same year, two days before his inauguration. The coup ending his term was led by his personal guards.
There have been mixed reactions regarding this update in Niger. While some Nigeriens have taken to social media to express joy over the takeover, actors loyal to the President say it’s a matter of time for the President to be freed and perpetrators arrested.
Hassoumi Massoudou, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and current acting President of Niger, has warned the presidential guards to desist from the attacks or face the consequences. He further made a call to all democrats to stage massive protests and claim their voting rights.
“I appeal to all democrats, to all patriots, to defeat this adventure which carries all the dangers for our country. Long live democracy, long live Niger”, he tweeted.
Hundreds of people had staged a protest early Thursday but were immediately dispersed by soldiers loyal to Colonel Amadou.
The Military Commander of the Niger Armed Forces, who openly pledged allegiance to the Presidential guards who ousted President Bazoum, issued a statement on Thursday warning any foreign intervention into the current situation will be disastrous.
“Any external military intervention, from whatever source, would risk having disastrous and uncontrollable consequences for our populations and chaos for our country”, it stated.
Bazoum was thought to have a close relationship with France, but it is as yet unclear what action the European country may take.
Neighboring Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu who doubles as Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has warned Nigerien soldiers to cease fire and release president Mohamed Bazoum immediately and without condition.
The Nigerian President in a statement said ECOWAS would not tolerate actions that incapacitate democratically-elected governments in the sub-region.
Although there was relative calm in Niger on Thursday, citizens are worried about the future.
This is the seventh coup d’État in Niger since the country gained independence in 1960.
It is the fourth coup in West and Central Africa in recent time, after Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea.
Support Our Journalism
There are millions of ordinary people affected by conflict in Africa whose stories are missing in the mainstream media. HumAngle is determined to tell those challenging and under-reported stories, hoping that the people impacted by these conflicts will find the safety and security they deserve.
To ensure that we continue to provide public service coverage, we have a small favour to ask you. We want you to be part of our journalistic endeavour by contributing a token to us.
Your donation will further promote a robust, free, and independent media.Donate Here