World leaders have condemned the latest coup in Niger staged by members of the presidential guard to remove President Mohamed Bazoum’s government.
In a statement broadcasted later on national television, Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane, spokesperson for a group calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country, said that “the defence and security forces … have decided to put an end to the regime you are familiar with”.
“This follows the continuous deterioration of the security situation, the bad social and economic management,” he was reported to have said by Al Jazeera.
Niger’s army has declared allegiance to the defence and security forces that overthrew President Bazoum, according to a statement signed by Abdou Sidikou Issa, the army chief of staff.
The army chief said the decision was necessary to “avoid a deadly confrontation between the various forces.”
Leaders from the United States, France and the United Nations, including other regional blocs, have called on the security guards to release Bazoum.
It was unclear where Bazoum was at the time the soldiers announced the takeover or if he had resigned, reports Al Jazeera.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to AFP, said Washington condemns any efforts to seize power by force.
“I spoke with President Bazoum earlier this morning and made clear that the United States resolutely supports him as the democratically elected president of Niger. We call for his immediate release,” the top diplomat said.
“We’re actively engaged with the Niger government, but also with partners in the region and around the world, and will continue to do so until the situation is resolved appropriately and peacefully,” he added.
For his part, UN Secretary-General strongly condemned the “unconstitutional change in government” in Niger and was “deeply disturbed” by the detention of Bazoum by members of his presidential guard, Reuters quoted a spokesperson.
“The Secretary-General calls for an immediate end to all actions undermining democratic principles in Niger,” the spokesperson said.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Paris “strongly condemns any attempt to seize power by force” and joins the calls of regional bodies “to restore the integrity of Niger’s democratic institutions”.
The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) earlier decried Bazoum’s detention and said they would resist any attempt to topple Niger’s government.
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