The 2021 Nigerien coup d'etat attempt occurred on 31 March at around 3 am WAT (2 am UTC) after gunfire erupted in the streets of Niamey, the capital of Niger, two days before the inauguration of president-elect Mohamed Bazoum.
The coup attempt was staged by elements within the military, and was attributed to an Air Force unit based in the area of the Niamey Airport. The alleged leader of the plot was Captain Sani Saley Gourouza, who was in charge of security at the unit's base. After the coup attempt was foiled, the perpetrators were arrested.
The coup attempt took place while Niger was mired in the War in the Sahel, with marked terrorism and inter-ethnic violence, with the sahel countries receiving France's help against terrorists via Operation Barkhane. In particular, there was the massacre in Tilia, where jihadist groups caused 137 deaths in a village in western Niger, a little over a week before the coup. In addition, the coup d'état occurs during a peaceful transition between two democratically elected presidents, a context unprecedented in Niger. The swearing-in of the new president Mohamed Bazoum would occur two days after the attempted coup. However, the defeated opponent and ex-president Mahamane Ousmane contested the election results and lodged a legal appeal with the constitutional court, which was rejected. In 2020, a coup d'état overthrew the government of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
According to Cyril Payen of France 24, "heavy weapon fire was heard for half an hour in the area of the presidential palace. But the Presidential Guard repelled this attack and the situation seems to have come under control", and the noise of the fighting woke up locals around 3am (local time). The majority of the perpetrators were arrested by the government but some, including the leader of the coup Sani Saley Gourouza, are still at large.
Reactions of international organizations
Reactions of other countries
- Chad The Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release condemning the unconstitutionality of the attempt.
- Nigeria Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the act as "naive and old-fashioned".
- Algeria The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release seriously condemning the coup attempt.
- Spain The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the coup by means of a press release.
Coordinates: 13°31′00″N 2°07′00″E / 13.5167°N 2.1167°E