At dawn on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, access to the Nigerien presidential palace was blocked by members of the presidential guard. According to first news accounts, Mohamed Bazoum, the Nigerien head of state, was held captive for long hours and in full discussion with the putschists. But later at night, the army announced that the coup was in full swing.
The coup scenario
After Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso, it’s Niger’s turn to orchestrate a coup on the African continent. After hours of negotiations, the army teamed up with the presidential guard and announced on national television that they had overthrown the president, created the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland (CNSP), suspended the Constitution and introduced a curfew.
It was Colonel Amadou Abdramane who made the announcement on television as CNSP spokesperson. The putschists claimed to have also taken control of national television. In his address to the nation, Colonel Abdramane declared that: “We have decided to put an end to the regime that you know. This follows the continued deterioration of the security situation, poor economic and social governance. We reaffirm our attachment to the respect of all the commitments entered into by Niger. We reassure the national and international community for respect of the physical and moral integrity of the deposed authorities in accordance with the principles of human rights. »
An Uncertain Period
In view of these events, an uncertain period over Niger is looming large. The putschists have already taken some strong measures. In particular, the cancellation of the constitution, the institution of a curfew and the closure of land and air borders.
Furthermore, the government does not recognize the legitimacy of this coup. A good part of the army has also announced that it is disassociating itself from the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland. To muddy the waters, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hassoumi Massaoudou, has solemnly declared that he is the interim president.
Mohamed Bazoum, who is still detained in his palace, hopes to return to his post very soon. Mediations have already been initiated by ECOWAS. And Patrice Talon, the President of the Republic of Benin, is in Niamey to discuss this situation.