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Niger soldiers claim power after president’s guards reportedly seize him

Neelam Rahim | neelam@radioislam.co.za

2-minute read
05 August 2023 | 17:56 CAT

Image: WSIL

Men in military fatigues claimed to have taken power in Niger after President Bazoum was reportedly seized by presidential guard members, sparking international condemnation and renewed uncertainty in a volatile part of Africa beset by coups and militant extremism.

In a video communique, a man identified as Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane and flanked by several apparent soldiers, announced, “We have decided to put an end to the regime that you know,” citing a deteriorating security situation in the country and “poor economic and social governance.”

He also said that national institutions have been suspended, and the country’s land borders are temporarily closed.

Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou called the soldiers’ actions “an attempted coup d’etat” but said, “the totality of the army was not behind the coup.”

Journalist specialized in African Business and economy, Jonathan Offei-Ansah told Radio Islam International, “while there are many factors attributing to the coup d’etat, mis-governance and corruption in official circles had a crucial role.”

Niger’s presidential office said that “hard-won achievements will be safeguarded.” The statement, posted on Twitter and being rebranded as X, did not mention whether Bazoum is still being detained.

Niger has had a long history of military coups since its independence from France in 1960; however, it has been less politically unstable in recent years. When Bazoum came to office in 2021, it was the country’s first democratic power transfer.

Much of Africa’s Sahel region has found itself confronting insurgencies, including Niger which has received support from the United States and France in tackling extremists.

But the region has also seen multiple coups recently, including in Niger’s neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso.

Listen to the full interview on Your World Today with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.

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