- A coup attempt in Niger Republic was repelled on Wednesday, March 31
- The development was characterised by gunshots that came dangerously close to the presidential palace in Niamey, the nation's capital
- Reliable international sources, however, claim that the situation has been put under control with the presence of military operatives
What could have turned out to be a successful coup plot in Niger Republic was thwarted by gallant soldiers after gunshots were heard near the presidential palace at Niamey on Wednesday, March 31.
Al Jazeera reports that the development is triggering suspicion that a coup plot is about to unfold just days to the inauguration of the president-elect, Mohamed Bazoum.
Although the international media said that calm has returned to the area, it also stated that the United States Embassy in Niamey had warned that it would remain closed due to gunshots.
The embassy, therefore, alerted its officials to stay at their respective homes until further notice.
Reporting the incident, Cyril Payen of France 24 said:
"Heavy gunfire was heard for half-an-hour in the presidential palace area. The presidential guard repelled the attack and the situation seems to be back under control.
"With two days to go before the inauguration of the new president, we know that the main challenge facing him is security, but we were thinking more of terrorist attacks, not this kind of action."
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, March 8, said that Nigeria was concerned about the stability of its northern neighbour, Niger Republic.
The president made the comment while receiving a report on the elections in the country from former Nigerian vice president, Namadi Sambo.
Sambo is the head of mission of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, on the election.
A statement issued by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, and seen by Legit.ng, quoted the president as saying:
“We are concerned about their stability, and I am glad the elections went well. I am happy it was transparent, as attested to by most of the observers. I am glad you came back with good news.”