Obtain free Niger updates
We’ll ship you a myFT Every day Digest electronic mail rounding up the most recent Niger information each morning.
Troopers belonging to Niger’s presidential guard have blockaded Mohamed Bazoum’s official residence within the capital Niamey and prevented him from leaving, in accordance with eyewitnesses and one one that has been in direct contact with the president.
The transfer on Wednesday raises the opportunity of an tried coup towards the pro-western Bazoum in a area the place army takeovers in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso have been adopted by sharp strikes away from the west.
The leaders of Mali’s 2021 coup expelled French troops and invited in Russia’s Wagner Group to assist battle an Islamist insurgency that has taken over swaths of the nation.
Particulars in regards to the attainable coup have been nonetheless rising on Wednesday, however one individual in shut contact with Niger’s safety officers mentioned the military remained loyal to Bazoum and was demanding that the presidential guard stand down. “In the event that they don’t, there might be a massacre,” he mentioned.
Different stories indicated that the top of the presidential guard, Basic Omar Tchani, had requested Bazoum to resign.
Bazoum, who was elected in 2021, has welcomed French troops who have been expelled from Mali final yr and has courted each European and US assist in combating jihadist assaults in Niger’s border areas. In an interview with the Monetary Occasions in Could he defended France’s presence within the nation and blamed anti-French sentiment on focused on-line campaigns.
He has additionally paraded his pro-democracy credentials and progressive attitudes on girls’s rights and schooling to courtroom western help. He was one in every of a number of African leaders who elected to not attend Vladimir Putin’s Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg this week.
An in depth affiliate of Bazoum who was involved with him on Wednesday mentioned the president had received up and had his breakfast usually, however was prevented by the presidential guard from leaving his residence for the palace. His personal bodyguards have been locked outdoors, he mentioned.
Since his election Bazoum has been slowly consolidating what was thought of a fragile energy base by appointing his personal males to necessary positions within the safety equipment, together with the top of intelligence.
A number of individuals loyal to the previous president and Bazoum’s predecessor, Mahamadou Issoufou, had been quietly retired. Strikes to sideline Tchani, the top of the presidential guard, could have led to unrest, observers mentioned.
A political analyst and resident of Niamey, who most popular not be to be quoted as a result of occasions have been unfolding so rapidly, mentioned he thought a coup might nonetheless be averted. Loads was at stake, he mentioned.
“Nations within the area which have gone by way of coups have shifted fully their relationship from being pro-western to siding with Russia. Bazoum has taken the other place,” he mentioned. “If a coup goes by way of that may change the dynamic. He’s virtually the one western ally within the area nonetheless standing.”