UN Secretary-General António Guterres has issued a strong condemnation regarding an attempted power grab in Niger, a West African nation. According to reports, President Mohamed Bazoum, who was democratically elected, is being held by some of his own guards within his official residence in the capital, Niamey.
The situation has been described by the African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki as “tantamount to an attempted coup d’etat,” although there have been no reports of gunfire so far. It is important to note that the attempted plotters have not garnered support from other elements of the military or security forces, but negotiations for the president’s release have been unsuccessful at this point.
Moussa Faki, condemning the military’s actions, described them as a “betrayal of their republican duty” and urged the soldiers to return to their barracks. Additionally, the regional bloc ECOWAS also condemned the “attempted coup” and called for the immediate release of the president.
In response to the evolving situation in Niger, Secretary-General Guterres expressed his concern and firmly denounced any attempt to seize power through force, emphasizing the need to safeguard democratic governance, peace, and stability in the country. He called upon all parties involved to exercise restraint and protect constitutional order.
The UN reiterated its commitment to stand by the Government and the people of Niger during this challenging time. The neighboring countries of Mali and Burkina Faso have faced military coups in recent years due to escalating jihadist insurgencies that have destabilized the entire region.
Niger itself is contending with two militant groups allied with both al-Qaeda and ISIL, with one crossing the border from Mali eight years ago and the other operating from a base in northeast Nigeria.
It is worth noting that Niger has experienced four coups since gaining independence from France in 1960, with the most recent one occurring in 2010. The international community remains vigilant in supporting democratic values and stability in the region.