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Niger’s army supports coup group but president defiant

Niger's army has officially backed a group of soldiers in their coup attempt, despite a defiant stance by the overthrown president, Mohamed Bazoum.

In a statement posted on Thursday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, Niger’s army chief of staff Abdou Sidikou Issa said the decision to support the soldiers was necessary to “avoid a deadly confrontation between the various forces.”

The military in a statement signed by Issa said it had “decided to adhere to the… declaration” made by soldiers committing the coup.

A group of soldiers calling themselves the Defense and Security Forces (FDS), declared on Wednesday they had “decided to put an end to the regime.”

Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane spokesperson for the FDS said Niger’s Presidential Guard had detained Bazoum.

“This follows the continued deterioration of the security situation, poor economic and social governance. The defense and security forces… have decided to put an end to the regime you are familiar with,” Abdramane said in a televised address.

The army said Bazoum’s “physical integrity” must be preserved in order to avoid “a deadly confrontation… that could create a bloodbath and affect the security of the population.”

In a statement on Thursday, Bazoum said Niger’s “hard-won” democratic gains would be safeguarded.

“All Nigeriens who love democracy and freedom would want this,” he said on the social media platform X.

Abdramane said Niger’s borders have been closed and that “all institutions” in the country would be suspended. A nationwide nighttime curfew has also been imposed.

In an interview, Niger’s Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou said the government was still the “legitimate and legal authority” in the West African country.

The army group accused France of landing a military plane in defiance of their orders to close the country’s borders.

“The French partner bypassed (the decision) on closing land and air borders in order to land an A401-type military aircraft at Niamey international airport this morning at 6:30 am,” Abdramane said in a statement, demanding “once and for all that measures be strictly upheld.”

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