Niger Armed Forces chief endorses mutineers' action, saying he wants to avoid bloodshed

Niger Armed Forces chief endorses mutineers' action, saying he wants to avoid bloodshed

'Military command of the Nigerien armed forces has decided to subscribe to the declaration by the Defence and Security Forces to avoid deadly confrontation,' says Gen Abdou Sidikou Issa

By Aurore Bonny

DOUALA, Cameroon (AA) – The Niger Armed Forces chief endorsed the mutineers' action on Thursday, saying he wanted to avoid a deadly confrontation between the various forces, which could result in bloodshed and jeopardize the population's security.

"The military command of the Nigerien armed forces has decided to subscribe to the declaration by the Defence and Security Forces in order to avoid a deadly confrontation between the various forces," said a statement signed by armed forces chief General Abdou Sidikou Issa.

The army stated that it is joining these soldiers to protect the physical integrity of the president of the republic and his family, as well as to avoid a deadly confrontation between the various forces, which could result in bloodshed and jeopardize the population's security.

The statement also warned that any external military intervention of any kind would have disastrous and uncontrollable consequences for people and chaos for the country.

President Bazoum has been detained by elements of the presidential guard since Wednesday morning, and later some soldiers appeared on national television late Wednesday to announce the removal of the head of state.

Calling themselves the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country, they read out a coup statement in a video and broadcast on state television ORTN.

According to the statement issued by Col. Major Amadou Abdramane, Bazoum has been deposed and the constitution has been suspended due to the country's deteriorating security situation and socioeconomic crisis.

A curfew will be imposed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time, and all borders have been closed, the statement added.

However, Bazoum said on Twitter on Thursday that "the hard-won gains will be safeguarded. All Nigeriens who love democracy and freedom will see to it."

Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Bazoum, who is currently resisting a coup attempt staged by a military faction, and expressed Washington's support for democracy in the western African country.

Meanwhile, Niger's interim Prime Minister Hassoumi Massoudou condemned the coup attempt, telling France24 on Thursday that the putschist has not waited for the end of the mediation process initiated on Wednesday by Mahamadou Issoufou, Bazoum's predecessor, and Nigeria's President Ahmed Tinubu who also serves as the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

"A Nigerian delegation arrived to mediate, as did former President Issoufou. However, before the mediation concluded, the putschist issued a statement declaring their seizure of power. We believe that there is no fait accompli: the legal and legitimate power is that of Bazoum. There has been an attempted coup that we cannot consider," Massoudou declared.

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