Members of the elite guard sealed off access to the president’s residence and offices in the capital Niamey, and after talks broke down, “refused to release” him, a presidential source said.

The soldiers said “all institutions” in the country would be suspended, borders were closed and a curfew imposed “until further notice” from 10 pm to 5 am.

“We, the defense and security forces… have decided to put an end to the regime,” President Bazoum, Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane said in a televised address late Wednesday.

“This follows the continued deterioration of the security situation, poor economic and social governance,” he added, surrounded by nine other uniformed soldiers.

Regional and global leaders have called for the release of Bazoum, who entered office two years ago in Niger’s first peaceful transition of power since independence from France in 1960.

The president of neighboring Benin, Patrice Talon, will head to Niamey for mediation efforts, the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said.

One of a dwindling group of pro-Western leaders in the Sahel, Bazoum was elected in April 2021, taking the helm of a country burdened by poverty and jihadist insurgencies.

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