The United States, France and the United Nations have strongly condemned an apparent military takeover in Niger, after soldiers in fatigues appeared on national television to announce the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum’s government.
The apparent coup late on Wednesday came after a day of uncertainty as members of Niger’s presidential guard surrounded the presidential palace and detained the president.
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It was unclear where Bazoum was at the time the soldiers announced the takeover or if he had resigned.
Here’s how world leaders have responded:
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the “immediate release” of Niger’s leader Mohamed Bazoum, saying Washington condemns any efforts to seize power by force.
“I spoke with President Bazoum earlier this morning and made clear that the United States resolutely supports him as the democratically elected president of Niger. We call for his immediate release,” the top diplomat said.
“We’re actively engaged with the Niger government, but also with partners in the region and around the world, and will continue to do so until the situation is resolved appropriately and peacefully,” he added.
UN Secretary-General strongly condemns the “unconstitutional change in government” in Niger and was “deeply disturbed” by the detention of Bazoum by members of his presidential guard, according to a spokesperson.
“The Secretary-General calls for an immediate end to all actions undermining democratic principles in Niger,” the spokesperson said.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Paris “strongly condemns any attempt to seize power by force” and joins the calls of regional bodies “to restore the integrity of Niger’s democratic institutions”.
The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) earlier decried Bazoum’s detention and said they would resist any attempt to topple Niger’s government.