Soldiers in Niger have announced a military coup has taken place on national television.
The group said they have dissolved the country’s constitution and closed the borders. Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has been held by troops from the presidential guard since early on Wednesday.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, has conveyed Washington’s “unwavering support” during a call to Mr Bazoum, the BBC understands.
While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also said he had spoken to the president and offered the UN’s full support.
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Mr Bazoum is seen as a key ally for the West. He opposes Islamist militancy in West Africa.
In the TV announcement on Wednesday Col Maj Amadou Abdramane, with nine other uniformed soldiers behind him, said: “We, the defence and security forces… have decided to put an end to the regime you know.
“This follows the continuing deterioration of the security situation, and poor economic and social governance.”
He said all institutions in the country had been suspended. The heads of ministries will assume day-to-day operations.
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He added: “All external partners are asked not to interfere,” he went on. “Land and air borders are closed until the situation has stabilised.”
The soldier also announced there would be a 10pm to 5am curfew until further notice.
He said the soldiers were acting for the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CLSP).
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