In a statement posted on social media, Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat of the African Union Commission expressed his strong condemnation in reaction to reports that members of Niger's presidential guard had detained President Mohamed Bazoum inside the palace.
"Informed of an attempt by certain members of the military to undermine the stability of democratic and republican institutions in Niger, which is tantamount to an attempted coup d'état, [Faki] strongly condemns such actions by members of the military," he said, adding that they amount to a “total betrayal” of duty.
ECOWAS and its member countries are monitoring the situation in Niger and will do everything within their power to protect its democracy, Chairman Bola Tinubu said in a message posted on the X social network formerly known as Twitter.
"The ECOWAS leadership will not accept any action that impedes the smooth functioning of legitimate authority in Niger or any part of West Africa," said Tinubu, who is also Nigeria’s president.
Earlier in the day, the official social media account of Niger’s presidency posted: "The President of the Republic and his family are well," adding that the presidential guards (GP) had failed to secure support from the other elements of the security services in this "fit of pique".
EU slams threat to 'stability'
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borell said he was "very concerned about current events in Niamey", adding Brussels' condemnation of any "attempts to destabilise the democracy and threaten the stability of Niger".
A statement from France’s foreign ministry said Paris also “strongly condemns any attempt to seize power by force” in Niger, adding that France is "concerned" and is "closely following the development of the situation".
A key Western ally
Bazoum was elected president of Niger in 2021, taking the helm of a country mired in poverty and burdened by a history of chronic instability.
His election was Niger’s first democratic transition of power following four military coups since the country gained independence from France in 1960.
A military unit tried to seize the presidential palace in March 2021 days before Bazoum was due to be sworn in, but the attempted coup was thwarted.