Members of Niger’s presidential guard have detained the leader of the uranium-rich country, a linchpin in the fight by US, French and African forces against the spread of Islamist militancy across the Sahel region.
The attempted coup follows five successful ones in the past three years across the impoverished region. If the latest power grab succeeds, it would create a strip of military-run countries stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea — most of which are more closely aligned to Russia than to the West.
1. What happened in Niger?
Soldiers appeared on state television on July 26, claiming to have seized control of the country hours after President Mohamed Bazoum was detained. The nation’s foreign minister told France24 television that negotiations were ongoing on Thursday morning, but hours later the army chief announced his support for the coup, Agence France Presse reported.
The Economic Community of West African States, a 15-nation regional bloc, the African Union, the US and other Western powers condemned the attempted takeover and called for Bazoum’s immediate release and reinstatement.