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Niger government confirms foiling coup attempt

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The government of Niger Republic has confirmed that there was a coup attempt in the country.

An official spokesman Abdourahamane Sakaria said arrests had been made and security situation brought under control after government forces repelled an attack by a military unit.

He also said an investigation was underway into the coup attempt against the country’s democracy.

Niamey residents had reported heavy gunfire which lasted for about 20 minutes near
the presidential palace on Wednesday, two days to the inauguration of President-Elect Mohamed Bazoum on Friday.

Former Foreign Minister Bazoum is an ally of out-going President-Mahamadou Issouffou.

The Constitutional Court has confirmed Bazoum’s victory in the February 21 presidential run-off election with 55% of the vote.

But his opponent, former President Mahamane Ousmanane, who received 45% of the vote has rejected the poll results and called for a peaceful protest.

Niger is one of the world’s poorest nations. The former West African French colony faces chronic insecurity with endless ethnic crisis, terrorism, jihadist insurrections and political instability including military coups.

Foreign dignitaries have started arriving in the country for Friday’s inauguration ceremony, even as deadly attacks by militant groups continue in remote parts of the uranium-rich restive nation.

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