Announced late on July 26th, a group of soldiers from the presidential guard surrounded and captured President Mohamed Bazoum. Immediately, they instituted a lockdown at air and land borders and imposed a curfew until things improved in the region. As air force Col. Major Amadou Abdramane said in a subsequent video message, “This is as a result of the continuing degradation of the security situation, the bad economic and social governance.”
Calling itself “National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country,” they affirmed any international or national commitments made by the previous government would remain in effect.
Bazoum had been president for two years and was the first to win and hold a fair election since they gained independence from France in 1960. Yet instability has grown since, with many groups alleging he was showing “anti-Republican” tendencies. In one instance, he is reported to have been trying to hire private guards and not trusting his fellow countrymen to cover him. With coups in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso linked to al-Quaeda and ISIS, it’s not surprising he wasn’t trusting.
Back in March, Biden tried getting Niger to play ball more and sent US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken to try and shore up the country and their faith in democracy. With extremists already carrying out attacks on civilians and military members, they already had a lot on the line, and Democracy was more than likely a few notches down the pole from there.
On July 27, during a stop in New Zealand, Blinken condemned the coup. He affirmed that his team, as well as France and other African nations, were in communication about the situation and would be working together to get it resolved ASAP.