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Niger`s soldiers announce coup on national TV

Soldiers in Niger have announced a coup on national TV saying they had dissolved the constitution, suspended all institutions and closed the nation`s borders.

Niger president Mohammed Bazoum, who was democratically elected in 2021, has been held by troops from the presidential guard since early Wednesday. Bazoum, is recognized as a key ally of French and other Western Nations in the fight against Islamic militancy in West Africa.

Channel 1

Bazoum was promised Washington`s “unwavering support” in a call from US secretary of state Antonio Blinken. UN secretary General Antonio Guterres also stated that he had spoken to the president and offered the UN`s full support.

Niger`s neighboring countries, Mali and Burkina Faso, have experienced coups triggered by jihadist uprisings in recent years. Both countries` new military leaders have fallen out with France, the former colonial ruler of Niger.

In the TV announcement on Wednesday, Col Maj Amadou Abdromane, alongside nine other uniformed soldiers behind him said, “We, the defence and security forces have decided to put an end to the regime you know.”

After the soldier`s TV announcement, Blinken called for the release of President Bazoum. He told a news conference in New Zealand that “what it clearly constitutes is an effort to seize power by force and to disrupt the constitution.”

In neighbouring Mali, heavily armed Russian Wagner mercenaries are helping the military regime to fight jihadist insurgents.

Niger`s unrest comes on top of existing western anxiety about Wagner operations and the Sahel region`s instability.

The West African economic bloc ECOWAS says it “condemns in the strongest terms the attempt to seize power by force” in Niger.

Niger is currently grappling with two Islamist insurgencies: one in the south-west, swept from Mali in 2015, and the second in south-east, involving jihadists based in north-eastern Nigeria. Militant groups allied to both al-Qaeda and Islamic states are active in the country.

There have been four coups in Niger since independence from France in 1960, as well as numerous coups` attempts.




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