Niger presidential guards holding President Bazoum inside palace, security sources say
PHOTO CAPTION: President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum delivers a speech during the opening session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit at the Palais Brogniart in Paris on June 22, 2023. LUDOVIC MARIN/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
By Moussa Aksar and Boureima Balima
NIAMEY (Reuters) -Niger presidential guards are holding President Mohamed Bazoum inside the presidential palace in the capital, which has been blocked off by military vehicles since Wednesday morning, security sources said.
The movements have the semblance of four military takeovers that have hit 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 to their offices, presidency and security sources said.
The rest of Niamey appeared calm, with normal morning traffic on the road and full internet access, a Reuters reporter said.
Previous coups in Burkina Faso and Mali were spurred in part by frustrations over authorities' failure to stem an Islamist insurgency blighting the Sahel region, which includes Niger.
There was also a thwarted coup attempt in Niger in March 2021, when a military unit tried to seize the presidential palace days before Bazoum was due to be sworn in.
(Reporting by Moussa Aksar, Boureima Balima and Abdel-Kader Mazou Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Alexander Winning and Nick Macfie)