Niger’s army command on Thursday declared support for a coup instigated the previous day by soldiers of the presidential guard, saying its priority was to avoid destabilising the country.

In a statement signed by the army chief of staff, it said to “preserve the physical integrity” of the president and his family and avoid “a deadly confrontation that could create a bloodbath and affect the security of the population.’’

Also, in a video communique, a man identified as Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane and flanked by several apparent soldiers, announced, “We have decided to put an end to the regime that you know,” citing a deteriorating security situation in the country and “poor economic and social governance.”

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President Mohamed Bazoum and Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou earlier urged democratic forces in the country to resist the power grab, as Western officials said the status of the coup attempt was unclear.