Military vehicles have blocked off the palace since Wednesday morning, with the movements resembling four previous military takeovers experienced in neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso since 2020.
Ministries next to the palace have also been blocked off, and staff inside the palace have not been able to access their offices or the presidency, security sources said.
Previous coups in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali were partly driven by frustrations over the authorities’ inability to contain the Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region, including Niger.
In March 2021, a coup attempt in Niger was foiled when a military unit tried to seize the presidential palace just days before Mohamed Bazoum’s scheduled inauguration.
In 2021, the Guinean special forces arrested the president, Alpha Conde, and announced a nationwide curfew “until further notice,” as well as the replacement of governors by the military.
“We have decided, after having taken the president, to dissolve the constitution,” said a uniformed officer flanked by soldiers toting assault rifles in a video sent to AFP.