AU, world leaders condemn ‘attempted coup’ in Niger
The African Union (AU), world leaders and regional blocs have condemned a coup attempt against Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum by members of the presidential guard.
Niger’s presidency said in a tweet on Wednesday that members of the presidential guard tried to move against Bazoum.
It said that guards engaged in an “anti-Republican demonstration” and tried “in vain” to obtain the support of the other security forces.
The African Union condemned the “coup attempt” and called on Nigeriens and Africans to “join their voices in unanimous condemnation of this coup attempt, and for the immediate and unconditional return of the felon soldiers to their barracks”.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) called the actions of the presidential guardsman an effort to unseat Bazoum by force.
The ECOWAS Commission, which manages the programmes of the 15-nation regional power bloc, said it “condemns in the strongest terms the attempt to seize power by force and calls on the coup plotters to free the democratically elected president of the republic immediately and without any condition”.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who was selected this month as the ECOWAS Commission’s chairman, said the regional bloc’s leadership would resist any attempt to unseat Niger’s government.
“It should be quite clear to all players in the Republic of Niger that the leadership of the ECOWAS region and all lovers of democracy around the world will not tolerate any situation that incapacitates the democratically elected government of the country,” Tinubu said in a statement he issued in Abuja.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also condemned “in strongest terms” any effort to seize power by force in Niger and called on all actors to exercise restraint, his office said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General is following closely the situation in Niger. He condemns in the strongest terms any effort to seize power by force and to undermine democratic governance, peace and stability in Niger,” the statement said.
Algeria, Nigeria and Benin Republic have issued statements condemning the attempted coup while also reaffirming the rejection of any unconstitutional changes to government.
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France said it condemned any attempt to seize power through violence.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said Paris was watching the situation carefully, but “condemned attempts to take power by force”.
France, she said, joined African Union calls to restore the integrity of democratic institutions.
United Kingdom’s junior foreign minister Andrew Mitchell has said that Britain condemns any attempt to undermine stability and democracy in Niger.
“The UK is closely monitoring events taking place in Niger’s capital. The UK condemns in the strongest possible terms any attempt to undermine stability and democracy in Niger,” Mitchell said in a statement.
“The UK joins the African Union and Economic Community of West African States in their calls to end the unacceptable events seen today, and to ensure the full and swift restoration of Niger’s democratically elected institutions.”
The United States demanded Bazoum’s release and said it was “deeply concerned” with the events unfolding in Niamey.
“The United States is deeply concerned about today’s developments in Niger,” the White House said in a statement.
“We specifically urge elements of the presidential guard to release President Bazoum from detention and refrain from violence.”