Presidential guards were holding Niger President Mohamed Bazoum inside his palace in the capital Niamey on Wednesday, security sources said, but the presidency said the guards had started an “anti-republican” movement “in vain” and that Bazoum was well.
West Africa’s main regional and economic bloc ECOWAS said it was concerned about an attempted coup and called on the plotters to free Bazoum. The African Union called on the “treasonous” soldiers involved to stop immediately.
In a message on Twitter, which is being rebranded as X, the president’s office said “elements of the Presidential Guard (PG) had a fit of temper… (and) tried unsuccessfully to gain the support of the national armed forces and the national guard.”
“The army and national guard are ready to attack the elements of the PG who are involved in this fit of temper if they do not return to a better disposition,” the presidency said.
“The president and his family are well,” it added.
Bazoum was democratically elected in 2021, taking the helm of one of Africa’s poorest and most coup-prone countries.
Niger has become a pivotal ally for Western powers seeking to help fight the insurgency but facing growing acrimony from the new juntas in charge in Mali and Burkina Faso. It is also a key EU ally in the fight against irregular migration from sub-Saharan Africa.