Niger coup: Evicted President, family on house arrest as new leader is announced

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Niger’s soldiers involved in the military coup have named an army general as the new leader of the nation on Friday. The new leader also warned against any foreign military intervention.

General Abdourahamane Tchiani, head of the Presidential Guard since 2011, appeared on state television saying he was the “president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland”.

The general presented the coup as a response to “the degradation of the security situation” linked to jihadist bloodshed.

A statement followed from the putschists on TV which warned of “the consequences that will flow from any foreign military intervention”.

“Certain dignitaries .. are in thinking of confrontation” which “will end in nothing but the massacre of the Nigerien population and chaos,” they claimed.

On the third day since President Mohamed Bazoum was detained, former colonial master France demanded the restoration of the democratically elected government saying it “does not recognise” the putschists, and calling Bazoum “sole president”.

The coup has prompted mounting international concern, and on Friday Kenyan President William Ruto called the army takeover “a serious setback” for Africa.

“The aspirations of the people of Niger for constitutional democracy were subverted by an unconstitutional change of government,” he said in a video message.

The European Union threatened to cut aid to Niamey after whait it said was a “serious attack on stability and democracy” in Niger.

Bazoum and his family have been confined since Wednesday morning to their residence at the presidential palace located within the Guard’s military camp.

He is said to be in good health and has been able to talk by telephone to other heads of state.

The Guard’s chiefs who staged the coup on Thursday had won broad army support.

Armed forces chief General Abdou Sidikou Issa swung his weight behind the putschists saying it was “in order to avoid a deadly confrontation”.

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