Head of the mutinous soldiers, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, who staged a coup earlier this week in the Niger Republic, has declared himself the leader of the country.
Speaking in a televised address, Gen Tchiani said his junta took over because of several problems in Niger, including insecurity, economic woes and corruption, amongst other matters.
He also said the intervention had been necessary to avoid “the gradual and inevitable demise” of the country.
According to him, while Bazoum had sought to convince people that “all is going well… the harsh reality (is) a pile of dead, displaced, humiliation and frustration”.
Tchiani further added that “The security approach today has not brought security to the country despite heavy sacrifices.”
Who Abdourahmane Tchiani is
The 62-year-old has been in charge of the presidential guard since 2011 and was promoted to the rank of General in 2018 by former President Mahamadou Issoufou.
He had been considered a key ally by Western nations in the fight against Islamist militants in the region.
Tchiani reportedly led the resistance to a thwarted coup attempt in March 2021, when a military unit tried to seize the presidential palace days before Bazoum, who had just been elected, was due to be sworn in.
What you need to know
Omar Tchiani staged a takeover which started on Wednesday when the presidential guards unit he led seized the country’s leader.
Colonel Amadou Abdramane, the spokesperson of the Nigerien army, had said on state TV on Wednesday that security forces had decided to “put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance”.
Abdramane said Niger’s borders are closed, a nationwide curfew declared, and all institutions of the republic are suspended. The soldiers warned against any foreign intervention, adding that they will respect Bazoum’s well-being.
Reports say Bazoum is in good health, and still held captive by his guards.
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