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‘Coup attempt’ thwarted in Niger amid elections dustup

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows the scene of a protest against the results of Niger’s elections, in Niamey, February 24, 2021.

In Niger, a ‘coup attempt’ has been thwarted only two days before President-elect Mohamed Bazoum is to be sworn in.

There were reports of gunfire in Plateau district of the capital Niamey on Wednesday. The presidential palace is located in the district.

Media outlets quoted a security source as saying that some arrests had been made among the army members behind the ‘coup attempt.’

The presidential guards pushed back a ‘group of soldiers from approaching the palace,’ the source said.

Bazoum has “excellent relations” with France.

A former interior minister, Bazoum is outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou’s right-hand man.

Niger’s political scene has been tense since early February, when Bazoum won the second round of elections.

His opponent, former President Mahamane Ousmane, has contested the results.

The fourth president of Niger, Ousmane served from 1993 to 1996. But his service did not end legally. He was deposed in a military coup on January 27 that year.

Ousmane had called for “peaceful marches” across the country, but authorities have banned the move.

Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, has suffered four coups in its history, the most recent of which in February 2010, when then President Mamadou Tandja was toppled.

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