In a shocking turn of events, President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger Republic has been ousted from power by military forces. The overthrow was confirmed on Thursday by the soldiers themselves.
Bazoum was held captive by the assailants throughout Wednesday, with military vehicles surrounding the presidential palace, fueling widespread speculation about an imminent coup in the West African nation.
The coup was officially declared in a televised broadcast early Thursday morning. A group of ten high-ranking officers, including Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, proclaimed that the National Council of the State Guard of the Nation had resolved to terminate the existing government.
The officers justified their seizure of power by citing concerns over the security situation in the country, as well as issues of social and economic governance. Despite the upheaval, the soldiers pledged their continued support to Niger’s commitments.
Prior to the announcement, military vehicles had been used to secure the president’s office and residence. Crowds gathered on the streets of Niamey, the capital, to voice their support for the president, but were dispersed by soldiers firing shots.
In response to the crisis, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) dispatched the President of Benin, Patrice Talon, to Niger.