Niger ‘coup attempt foiled’ ahead of inauguration
An attempted coup near the Niger presidential palace has been successfully thwarted, according to officials. The attack comes just two days before President-elect Mohamed Bazoum is set to be sworn into office. The group of soldiers behind the assault have been arrested following heavy gunfire close to the palace. Bazoum’s inauguration will mark the first transfer of power between two democratically elected presidents in Niger since the country became independent.
There have been increasing attacks by jihadist groups since Bazoum won the election in February. His rival has rejected the election results, and his supporters have been banned from holding protests in the capital city of Niamey. Former US envoy Peter Pham tweeter that both the president-elect and the outgoing president were safe from the coup. According to local sources, the gunfire began at around 3:00 local time and lasted for 15 to 30 minutes.