Tension in Niger as Presidential Guard Blocks Access to President Bazoum’s Residence and Offices
Niamey, Niger – The elite Presidential Guard caused a stir on Wednesday as they blocked access to the residence and offices of Niger’s President, Mohamed Bazoum. The reason behind the blockade remains unclear, leaving citizens and the international community on edge.
Niger, a landlocked West African nation, has a history of political instability, witnessing four coups since gaining independence from France in 1960. The country has also faced numerous attempted power grabs, making any such developments a cause for concern.
Despite the lockdown, there were no signs of military deployment or gunfire in the area. An AFP journalist confirmed that traffic flowed normally around the presidential complex in Niamey.
President Bazoum, who was democratically elected in 2021, is known to have a close alliance with France, further adding to the significance of the situation.
The last coup in Niger took place in February 2010, which toppled then-President Mamadou Tandja. Since then, the country has experienced attempted coups, including a foiled attempt just two days before President Bazoum’s inauguration in March 2021. The suspected leader of that plot, air force captain Sani Gourouza, was arrested in neighboring Benin and handed over to Niger authorities.
In January 2018, nine soldiers and a civilian were sentenced for attempting to overthrow President Bazoum’s predecessor, Mahamadou Issoufou, in 2015. The country continues to grapple with challenges, including jihadist campaigns in the southwest and southeast regions.
Niger is situated in the Sahel, characterized by two-thirds of its territory being desert. The nation struggles with socio-economic development, often ranking low on the UN’s Human Development Index.
The situation in Niger is being closely monitored by both local and international stakeholders, hoping for a peaceful resolution to the current uncertainty. As more information emerges, the world awaits to see how events unfold in this politically sensitive West African state.