Niger President To Be Sworn In After 'attempted Coup'
Faizan Hashmi 10 days ago Fri 02nd April 2021 | 04:45 PM
Niger's newly-elected president Mohamed Bazoum was set to be sworn into office on Friday, a democratic watershed overshadowed by jihadist violence and an alleged coup bid
Niamey (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd Apr, 2021 ) :Niger's newly-elected president Mohamed Bazoum was set to be sworn into office on Friday, a democratic watershed overshadowed by jihadist violence and an alleged coup bid.
But the Sahel country's instability and insecurity have been deeply underscored in the run-up to Friday's ceremony.
In the early hours of Wednesday, after gunfire broke out near the presidency in the capital Niamey, the government announced an "attempted coup" had been thwarted -- a "cowardly and regressive act which sought to threaten democracy and the state of law".
"Some arrests" were made, the source said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was among worried foreign leaders, calling on the armed forces "to strictly abide by their constitutional obligations".
The inauguration ceremonies were to take place in the Niamey International Conference Centre.
But his most formidable rival, former premier Hama Amadou, was banned from running because of a conviction for baby trafficking -- a charge he has branded politically motivated.
Bazoum was born at Bilabrine in the southeastern Diffa region and is a member of Niger's ethnic Arab minority, which some opposition figures seized on during the campaign to accuse him of having "foreign" origins.
Angered by the taunt, he exclaimed to AFP: "I am Nigerien and I am an Arab at the same time!" "I don't think this reaped any benefit for my critics. It gave them the shameful image of people channelling racist arguments," he added.
The West African nation has suffered four coups in its history, most recently a February 2010 putsch which toppled then president Mamadou Tandja.
It has also been ravaged by repeated jihadist attacks, from insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State, crossing from Mali and Burkina Faso in the west, and to Boko Haram, crossing from Nigeria in the southeast.
More than 300 people have been killed in three attacks in the west since the start of the year.
Bazoum has ruled out any talks with the jihadists.
"We cannot envisage any dialogue of any kind so long as there is a single Nigerien jihadist chief, a single jihadist base on our terroritory," he said in a recent interview with the French media channels RFI and France 24.