NIAMEY (Agencies): In a dramatic turn of events, soldiers in Niger have declared a coup on national television, signaling a significant shift in the country’s political landscape.

The military leaders stated that they have dissolved the constitution, suspended all institutions, and closed the nation’s borders. President Mohamed Bazoum was reportedly detained by troops from the presidential guard earlier on Wednesday.

The coup announcement drew swift reactions from the international community. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured President Bazoum of Washington’s “unwavering support” during a phone call. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also offered the UN’s full support after speaking with the president.

Niger’s President Bazoum has been a key ally in the West’s efforts to combat Islamist militancy in the region, making the situation particularly concerning for neighboring countries and international partners.

In the televised message, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, flanked by nine uniformed soldiers, explained the reasons behind their actions. He cited the deteriorating security situation, as well as poor economic and social governance, as the driving factors behind the military’s intervention.

The coup leaders further asserted that all institutions in the country had been suspended, with the heads of ministries taking charge of day-to-day operations. They called on external partners not to interfere and announced the closure of land and air borders until the situation stabilizes. A night curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 local time was also imposed until further notice.

The coup attempt was associated with the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), as stated by Colonel Major Abdramane during the broadcast.

The international response to the coup has been swift and stern. Ecowas, the West African economic bloc, strongly condemned the attempt to seize power by force. Benin’s President Patrice Talon arrived in the capital Niamey for mediation efforts, emphasizing the need for a peaceful resolution.

In the wake of the coup announcement, crowds in Niamey expressed their support for President Bazoum, while heavily armed forces loyal to the president were seen stationed around the national broadcaster.

Niger has been grappling with Islamist insurgencies in different regions of the country, with militant groups associated with both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State being active.

This coup marks the latest chapter in Niger’s history of political instability, with multiple coups and attempted coups taking place since gaining independence from France in 1960.

By Media

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