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West Africa Rocked by Another Regime Change

An attempted coup is under way in the fragile state of Niger, sources and neighbouring countries have said, after members of the Presidential Guard detained President Mohamed Bazoum inside his palace in the capital Niamey. Wednesday’s incident triggered a standoff with the army and has sparked global condemnation. The West African bloc ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) also lashed what they called an “attempted coup d’etat”. ECOWAS called on the plotters to free Bazoum, while the AU urged the “felon” soldiers involved to return to barracks immediately. It has remained unclear why there was a revolt but analysts said rising costs of living and perceptions of government incompetence and corruption may have driven the guards’ move. A military takeover in the former French colony could further complicate Western efforts to help countries in the region fight the rebellion that has spread from Mali over the past decade. The incident potentially has implications given how much Western countries have invested in Niger in terms of money and security.