A Max Air aircraft 5N-ADM on an Hajj flight to Niamey, Niger Republic, is stranded in the city’s airport due to the ongoing military coup in the country.
The aircraft, a b-747-400 landed in Niamey at 2140z (2240 local time) with 360 Nigerian pilgrims onboard. Captain Maitama Kabo was in command of the 18 crew onboard, PUNCH reports.
SaharaReporters earlier today reported that the United States’ Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, called for the immediate release of Niger Republic President, Mohamed Bazoum.
“Whether this constitutes a coup technically or not, I can’t say, that’s for the lawyers to say, but what it clearly constitutes is an effort to seize power by force and to disrupt the constitution,” Blinken told a news conference in the New Zealand capital, Wellington.
Blinken called for Bazoum’s immediate release.
A group of soldiers in Niger said that President Mohamed Bazoum had been removed from power. They also said the nation’s borders were closed and a curfew had been imposed “until further notice.”
The Niger Republic Army spokesman, Colonel Major Amadou Adramane, had spoken during an appearance on national television.
“We, the defence and security forces have decided to put an end to the regime” of President Bazoum, said Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane, flanked by nine other uniformed soldiers in the address.
Reading from a statement, the soldiers said, “The country’s borders are closed and a nationwide curfew declared.”
Bola Tinubu, Nigerian President and Chairman of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government earlier reacted to the planned coup d’etat in Niger Republic, saying it will not be tolerated.
His reaction followed the reported that Niger presidential guards were holding President Mohamed Bazoum inside the presidential palace in the capital, which had been blocked off by military vehicles since Wednesday morning.
According to AFP, no shots were fired and it was not clear if it was an attempt by the presidential guard to seize power.
The president’s office tweeted that the guards unsuccessfully tried to get support from the military in their “anti-republican” efforts.
But reacting to the unrest in neighbouring Niger Republic on Wednesday, President Tinubu said ECOWAS and all lovers of democracy around they would not tolerate any situation that incapacitates a democratically-elected government.