Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum arrives for the first day of a European Union- African Union summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, February 17, 2022. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Niger presidential guards are holding President Mohamed Bazoum inside the presidential palace, which has been blocked off by military vehicles, security sources said on Wednesday.
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 national army was ready to attack the guards if they did not come to their senses, the presidency said in a statement.
The statement followed reports that presidential guards had cut access to the palace and blocked Bazoum inside, raising concern West Africa’s sixth coup since 2020 could be underway.
“The President of the Republic and his family are well,” the presidency said on its social media pages without providing further details.
The statement was later deleted amid doubts about who was in control. Soldiers had taken control of all roads leading to the national television station which was playing a children’s French lesson on Wednesday afternoon.
The rest of Niamey appeared calm, with normal traffic on the road and full internet access, a Reuters reporter said.