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.
Regional leaders, blocs and the United Nations have condemned the events.
The African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS decried what they called an “attempted coup d’etat.”
UN chief Antonio Guterres condemned “any effort to seize power by force” and urged respect for Niger’s constitution, while the United States expressed deep concern and called for Bazoum to be released.
France, a former colonial power, and neighbouring Algeria also issued condemnations.
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”.
— African Union (@_AfricanUnion) July 26, 2023
Niger’s northern neighbour Algeria issued a statement condemning the continuing events and called for an immediate end to the violence.
“The Algerian government is deeply concerned about the situation in the Republic of Niger and strongly condemns the attempted coup taking place there,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The ministry reaffirmed Algeria’s “categorical rejection of any unconstitutional changes” and urged “an immediate end to this unacceptable breach of the constitutional order”.
— Algeria in Addis-Ababa (@AmbalgAddis) July 26, 2023
Benin’s President Patrice Talon was travelling to Niger on a mediation mission, fellow African leader and Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said.
“He is going there now, he is on his way,” Tinubu, who is head of the regional West African bloc ECOWAS, said after meeting with Talon in Abuja.
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.
La Commission de la CEDEAO condamne la tentative de coup d’État au Niger/ ECOWAS Commission condemns the attempted coup d’Etat in Niger pic.twitter.com/0iYWCqLU18
— Ecowas – Cedeao (@ecowas_cedeao) July 26, 2023
“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.
“We will do everything within our powers to ensure democracy is firmly planted, nurtured, well rooted and thrives in our region.”
The European Union said it “associates itself” with the ECOWAS statement and condemned “any attempt to destabilise democracy and threaten the stability” of Niger.
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.
An updated travel advisory from the ministry said French citizens, of which there are about 1,200, should remain vigilant and limit their movements in the capital.
About 1,000 to 1,500 French soldiers are based in Niamey with fighter jets, drones and helicopters also in the country.
Tinubu emphasised that ECOWAS will not tolerate any situation that incapacitates the “democratically-elected government of the Republic of Niger.” ‘
“We stand firmly with Niger. #NigeriaStandsWithNiger #DemocracyPrevails” he tweeted.
As Chairperson of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State, I state without equivocation that Nigeria stands firmly with the elected government in Niger. We shall not waiver or flinch on our stand to defend and preserve constitutional order. #NigeriaStandsWithNiger pic.twitter.com/NCFeTroaX9
— Bola Ahmed Tinubu (@officialABAT) July 26, 2023
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.
He condemns in the strongest terms any effort to seize power by force and to undermine democratic governance, peace and stability in Niger.
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) July 26, 2023
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.”