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Coup bid in Niger ahead of presidential inauguration

‘Few members of the Army arrested’.

Elite troops in Niger thwarted an “attempted coup” on Wednesday, a security source said, just two days before the historic inauguration of Mohamed Bazoum as President of the chronically unstable Sahel nation.

Residents earlier reported hearing gunfire in the middle of the night near the presidency in the capital Niamey. “There were some arrests among a few members of the army who are behind this attempted coup,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The Presidential Guard retaliated, preventing this group of soldiers from approaching the presidential palace,” the source said.

A resident of Niamey’s Plateau district, which includes the President’s official residence and offices, said, “It was around 3 a.m., we heard shots from heavy and light weapons and it lasted 15 minutes before stopping, followed by shots from light weapons.”

The alleged coup comes ahead of Mr. Bazoum’s inauguration on Friday — the first elected transition in Niger’s history since independence from France in 1960.

Mr. Bazoum is a former Interior Minister and right-hand man of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou.

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