Niger coup leader declares himself West African nation's new president
The head of Niger’s presidential guard, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, has been named as the new leader of the West African country following a military coup.
Niger's elected President Mohamed Bazoum was removed from power and detained by members of his presidential guard on Wednesday.
General Tchiani appeared on national television on Friday and named himself "president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland."
The general said the intervention had been necessary to avoid “the gradual and inevitable demise” of the country.
"The harsh reality of insecurity in Niger, experienced by our defense forces and hardworking populations, with its toll of deaths, displacement, humiliation, and frustration, reminds us on a daily basis of this stark reality," Tchiani said.
He said that while Bazoum had sought to convince people that “all is going well… the harsh reality (is) a pile of dead, displaced, humiliation and frustration."
"The security approach today has not brought security to the country despite heavy sacrifice."
Armed Forces chief General Abdou Sidikou Issa said on Thursday that the army supports the coup to "avoid a deadly confrontation."
Bazoum has tried to stand his ground as condemnations swelled from African and international organisations, Niamey's Western allies; the European Union, and the United States.
"The hard-won gains will be safeguarded," Bazoum said in a social media post. "All Nigeriens who love democracy and freedom would want this."
Meanwhile, coup leaders warned against any foreign military intervention, in a statement that was also read out on state television.
They warned of "the consequences that will flow from any foreign military intervention."