10 people have been arrested for an attempted coup, says the president of Niger. According to his statement on Tuesday, this is the first time the nation has confirmed a failed plot. The West African republic has had repeated coups since its independence in 1960.
An additional suspect is on the run, said President Mahamadou Issoufou in a message broadcast on state media.
“The law will be applied in all its severity to those (who), without any objective reason, have decided to put an end to the choice of the people,” he said.
The coup was attempted overnight July 12 and is still being investigated.
Mahamadou won elections in March, ending a military transition that followed a February 2010 coup, which led to the ouster of Mamadou Tandja.
His election was a major step toward democracy in Niger. The president confirmed the coup in a statement he delivered the night before the nation celebrated its 51st independence anniversary.
Last week, Issoufou met President Barack Obama at the White House. During which Obama applauded the visiting leaders of Guinea, Ivory Coast, Benin and Niger for promoting democracy despite risks to the lives.
The United States will be a “stalwart partner” as the four French-speaking African countries pursue progress, Obama said.