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Niger, coup. ECOWAS West African countries issue an ultimatum to the putschists

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Niger’s junta has one week to return power to President Mohammed Bazoum, who was ousted last Wednesday, and restore constitutional order, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced on Sunday. Otherwise, the region’s leaders will take “every measure” to restore democracy, including sanctions and the use of force, Reuters reported.

President Mohamed Bazoum, the first democratically elected president Niger, was removed from power last week by the presidential guard. General Abdourahamane Tiani, head of the Presidential Guard, declared himself the new leader on Friday.

The military coup in Niger has a large public support. On Sunday in front of the embassy France Demonstrators gathered in the capital Niamey to protest against France. Some of the demonstrators tried to get to the embassy, ​​others tore off a sign with the inscription “Embassy of France in Niger”, then stepped on it, and then hung the flags of Niger and Russia.

People hoisted the flags of Russia and Niger outside the French embassy in the capital NiameyEPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO

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READ ALSO: What is happening in Niger and what it means for the rest of the world, including Europe

The threat of sanctions and the use of force. Prime Minister of Niger: It will be a disaster

During an emergency summit, ECOWAS regional leaders gathered in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to call for a return to constitutional order. They warned that actions against Niger’s new military leadership could include financial and travel sanctions and a no-fly zone.

“Measures may also include the use of force,” the Economic Community of West African States’ leaders said in a communiqué after Sunday’s meeting.

Niger. The protesters salute the security forces subordinate to the putschistsPAP/EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO

In a communiqué published after Sunday’s meeting, Community members also condemned support for the coup from outside Niger and Africa. While the coup in Niger was widely condemned by neighbors and international partners, including United StatesUnited Nations, African Union, European Union and France, it was the head of Russian mercenaries fighting in the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who supported the coup “as independence from the colonialists” and offered the junta the services of his fighters. The group is already present in three conflict-affected Sahel countries: Mali, Burkina Faso and Sudan.

Sahel countries PAP

Prime Minister of Niger under Bazoum, Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou, assessed that possible sanctions imposed by ECOWAS would have catastrophic consequences. “I know the instability of Niger, I know the economic and financial context of Niger,” Mahamadou, who was abroad when the coup took place, told France24 television.

“This is a country that will not be able to resist these kinds of sanctions. It will be a disaster, he said.

ECOWAS leaders in Abuja debated sanctions against coup leaders in Niger Reuters

Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby, who came to power in 2021 after a coup d’état in his country, met with his Nigerian counterpart Bola Tinubu and volunteered to speak with military commanders in Niger, Reuters reported.

Blinken: we join ECOWAS and regional leaders

The coup d’état in Niger, which began on Wednesday, was widely condemned by neighbors and international partners, including the United States, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union and France.

– The era of coups in Africa must end. They are unacceptable. They threaten the security of the country, the stability of the region, said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. She added that, for now, there are no plans to evacuate French nationals in Niger.

On Sunday evening, she joined the ranks of those condemning the coup d’état Great Britain. She added that she supports ECOWAS in their efforts to restore stability in Niger. “The UK is a committed partner of the democratically elected government of Niger and calls for the immediate reinstatement of President Bazoum to restore constitutional order,” the government said in a statement.

The activities of ECOWAS were welcomed by the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. “We join ECOWAS and regional leaders in calling for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family and the return of all state functions to a legitimate, democratically elected government,” Blinken said in a statement.

A band of African countries ruled by the militaryGoogle Maps

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO

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