The West African bloc ECOWAS on Wednesday condemned what it called an “attempted coup” in Niger, whose president, Mohamed Bazoum, was detained by members of the presidential guard, according to a source close to him.
“ECOWAS condemns in the strongest terms the attempt to seize power by force and calls on the coup plotters to free the democratically-elected president of the Republic immediately and without any condition,” it said in a statement.
The attempted coup comes just months after two other West African countries, Mali and Guinea, experienced military takeovers. In Mali, the coup leaders have since dissolved the government and suspended the constitution on 24 May 2021. In Guinea, the military detained President Alpha Conde on 5 September 2021 and promised to hold elections within a year.
The recent coups have raised concerns about the stability of West Africa, a region that has already been plagued by conflict and instability. In a speech last month, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said that his country would no longer tolerate coups in the sub-region.
“We will not tolerate any attempt to undermine our democracy and the will of the people,” Tinubu said. “Those who seek to take power through the barrel of the gun will never succeed.”
The attempted coup in Niger is a reminder of the challenges facing West Africa. The region is home to some of the world’s poorest countries, and it is also a major transit route for drugs and weapons. These factors make it susceptible to instability and violence.
It remains to be seen whether the coup attempt in Niger will be successful.
However, the event has once again highlighted the need for stability and security in West Africa.