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Niger president Mohamed Bazoum vows to protect democracy after coup

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Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum took to social media on Thursday with a defiant vow to protect “hard-won” democratic gains a day after he was toppled in a military coup.

The country’s foreign minister Hassoumi Massoudou also issued a rallying cry on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, for “all democrats and patriots” to make the coup fail.

Their statements followed a late-night address on Wednesday by soldiers on national television announcing that Bazoum had been removed from power and all republic institutions suspended, marking the seventh coup in West and Central Africa since 2020.

Earlier on Wednesday members of the presidential guard had cut off the presidential palace in the capital Niamey and blocked Bazoum inside.

This sparked regional and international concern about instability in a country that is a pivotal ally for Western powers helping fight an insurgency in the Sahel region.

Bazoum was still being held inside the presidential palace on Thursday morning, Massoudou said in an interview with French broadcaster France 24. The minister’s whereabouts were unclear.

Niamey was quiet on Thursday morning as citizens awoke to closed borders and a nationwide curfew imposed by the military.

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