Presidency says army ready to attack if guards do not back down, adds president is well after reports said he was held within the presidential palace.
(Al Jazeera) – Niger’s presidency has said members of the presidential guard tried to move against President Mohamed Bazoum, warning that the army was ready to attack them if they did not back down.
The presidency’s official Twitter account said on Wednesday that presidential guards engaged in an “anti-Republican demonstration” and tried “in vain” to obtain the support of the other security forces.
It added that Bazoum and his family were well after news agencies quoted security sources as saying that the guards were holding Bazoum inside the presidential palace in the capital, Niamey.
The palace and ministries next to it had been blocked off by military vehicles on Wednesday morning. Staff inside the palace were also unable to access their offices, according to reports. But there was calm elsewhere in Niamey.
Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Abuja in neighbouring Nigeria, said there was a directive from the army for troops loyal to Bazoum to move in to quell what seemed to be a coup attempt.
He said there are reports out of the capital signifying that there is “some form of negotiations”, with one report suggesting that the coup plotters just wanted Bazoum to “surrender power”.