Reports suggest that a coup attempt is possibly ongoing at the presidential palace in Niamey, on July 26.
It’s been reported that the official residence of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum was sealed off by the elite Presidential Guard. AFP reported that why the action was taken is yet to be disclosed.
Although Bazoum’s official presidential complex in Niamey was sealed off, there was no abnormal military deployment or sounds of gunfire in the area, and traffic is normal.
The landlocked West African state has been one of the most coup-prone nations in the world, with four since its independence from France in 1960, not to mention several attempted coups. The last successful one was in February 2010, overthrowing the president at the time, Mamadou Tandja.
Bazoum was democratically elected in 2021 and considered a close ally of France. There was an attempted coup on March 31, 2021, two days before the inauguration. The suspected ringleader, an air force captain named Sani Gourouza, was arrested in the neighboring Benin and handed over to the Niger authorities. Others were also detained for their suspected roles in the attempted coup.
Another attempt on the Niger presidency occurred while Bazoum was in Turkey, in March 2023. An arrest was made at the time, though authorities never publicly commented on the incident.
Niger has also struggled with two jihadist campaigns, one coming from the southwest in 2015 through Mali, and the other in the southeast, involving jihadists based in northeastern Nigeria.
The country has persistently ranked at the bottom, or near it, in the UN’s Human Development Index. Niger is two-thirds desert and is located in the heart of the Sahel, with a population of 22.4 million.