President Mohamed Bazoum is being held by presidential guards in the capital’s presidential palace, which has been surrounded by military vehicles since Wednesday morning, Reuters reports. The activities resemble four military coups that have affected Burkina Faso and Mali, two neighbors, since 2020.
According to presidency and security officials, ministries close to the palace have also been closed off, making it impossible for palace employees to enter their workplaces. The rest of Niamey appeared quiet, with typical morning traffic on the roads and complete internet connectivity, according to Reuters.
Frustrations at the government’s failure to put an end to the Islamist insurgency plaguing the Sahel area, which includes Niger, were a contributing factor in previous coups in Burkina Faso and Mali. Another failed coup attempt occurred in Niger in March 2021, only days before Bazoum was scheduled to take office.
The history of this vast, poor and desert country is riddled with coups d’etat. Since the independence from France in 1960, there have been four coups: the first in April 1974 against President Diori Hamani, the last in February 2010 which overthrew President Mahamadou Tandja. There has also been numerous putsch attempts.