from ABDULLAHI ABUBAKAR in Niamey, Niger
NIAMEY, (CAJ News) – NIGER military government has claimed it thwarted an attempt to free deposed president Mohamed Bazoum, a development that adds a new twist to the crisis in the West African nation.
The alleged failed rescue operation by an unidentified group that had infiltrated Niamey occurred overnight October 18-19.
“This plan to destabilize our country was thwarted,” stated the spokesperson of the junta, Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, in a communiqué.
An unspecified number of individuals have been arrested.
Military officials have launched an investigation and deployed troops to several areas across Niamey, including the Tchangarey district, to apprehend additional suspects concerning the reported failed rescue.
Bazoum’s whereabouts were unknown at the time of publishing the article.
However, members of the Presidential Guard sequestered President Bazoum within the Presidential Palace when the coup was carried out on July 26.
Security experts forecast clashes between security forces and any additional suspects in connection to the failed rescue attempt.
It is widely believed supporters of the transitional authority might stage protests supporting the ruling regime, while pro-Bazoum counter-demonstrations might also take place.
Niger’s coup has relapsed to a regional problem.
Member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc have maintained the indefinite closure of Niger’s southern border with Nigeria and Benin, despite regional pressure to reopen.
On Tuesday, Nigerian legislators failed to pass a motion to reopen the border.
Parliamentarians cite severe economic hardships in bordering communities since the initial closure was enforced.
ECOWAS has further cited the border closure as having security implications for neighboring Nigeria.
On Monday, some politicians in Benin also called for a resolution to end the border crisis.
– CAJ News