UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned an attempted power grab in the West African nation of Niger, following reports that the democratically elected president is being held by some of his own guards inside his official residence. According to news reports, the officers seized President Mohamed Bazoum and blockaded his residence in the capital Niamey on Wednesday, leading the African Union Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki, to describe their actions as “tantamount to an attempted coup d’etat” – although there have been no reports so far of gunfire. The would-be plotters have reportedly not gained support from other elements of the military or security forces, but talks to secure the president’s release have been unsuccessful so far. Faki condemned the military for “acting in total betrayal of their republican duty”, urging the “felon soldiers” to return to their barracks. The main regional bloc ECOWAS also condemned the “attempted coup” calling on the officers holding the president to release him immediately. In a short statement released by his Spokesperson, Guterres said he was following the evolving situation in Niger closely.