Niger’s president says democracy will be restored after coup attempt 0

Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum has taken to social media to say that democracy will be “safeguarded” across the country, a day after he was seized by members of the presidential guard in a military coup attempt.

Bazoum, who was reportedly detained by some disgruntled members of the Elite Presidential Guard, vowed on Thursday to safeguard the hard-earned democracy in the West African country located in the turbulent Sahel region.

In a Thursday post on the social media platform Twitter, which is being rebranded as X, Bazoum said, “hard-won gains will be safeguarded” and that Nigeriens who love democracy will see it.

Bazoum’s statements came hours after men dressed in military attire claimed to have overthrown his government, dissolving the constitution, and closing the borders.

His remarks were echoed by Niger’s Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou, who confirmed that the president was in good health.

Massoudou said he had spoken to the president and he is “in good health”, and has not been harmed by the military.

He asserted that the elected government remained the “legitimate and legal authority” of the country, insisting that, “The legal and legitimate power is the one exercised by the elected president of Niger Mohamed Bazoum.”

The top diplomat described the actions of the group of soldiers at the presidential palace as “an attempted coup d’etat” but said, “the totality of the army was not behind the coup.”

He called on “mutinous officers to return to their ranks” in an interview with French television station France 24, adding that mediation efforts had started, including those by the president of Nigeria who is “dialoguing with the military”.

Meanwhile, the attempted power grab drew strong condemnation from the United Nations and several governments.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “strongly condemns the unconstitutional change in government” in Niger.

The foreign minister of Niger’s former colonial power France, Catherine Colonna, condemned the coup attempt, claiming Paris was opposed to “all attempts to take power by force”.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Berlin was following the events in Niger with “very great concern”.

“Violence is not a means to enforce political or personal interests,” said the ministry in a statement, which also called for Bazoum’s immediate release by the organizers of the coup.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had spoken to Bazoum to offer Washington’s support.

The president of neighboring Benin, Patrice Talon, will head to Niamey for mediation efforts, the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said.

In the meantime, the coupsters said “all institutions” in the country would be suspended, borders were closed and a curfew imposed “until further notice” from 10 pm to 5 am.

“We, the defense and security forces… have decided to put an end to the regime” of President Bazoum, Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane said in a televised address late Wednesday.

Also on Wednesday, Niger’s presidency said that members of the presidential guard (PG) had started an “anti-republican” movement “in vain”.

The president’s office said, “Elements of the Presidential Guard (PG) had a fit of temper… (and) tried unsuccessfully to gain the support of the national armed forces and the national guard”.

It said the army and national guard were ready to attack the PG elements if they did not take a new disposition.

Bazoum was elected in April 2021, taking the helm of the impoverished country. He is one of a dwindling number of pro-Western leaders in the Sahel region, fighting against the extremists’ insurgency.

Source: Presstv