The leader of the coup in Niger, General Abdurrahman Tchiani, has promised to hand over power to a civilian government within three years. – We do not accept any prolonged changes in the region. They must prepare for the transfer of power as soon as possible, said ECOWAS Commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah. Thousands of supporters of the military junta that took power in the country at the end of July demonstrated in the center of the capital of Niger on Sunday. As AFP writes, they chanted “Down with France” and “Stop military intervention”.
The head of the junta, General Abdurrahman Tchiani, said that Niger does not want war, but that if there is foreign intervention, it will defend itself. “If there was a military operation against us, it wouldn’t be a walk in the park as some people think,” he warned in his televised address Saturday night, following a meeting of mediators from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS in the capital, Niamey.
General Tchiani also criticized the sanctions imposed on Niger by ECOWAS, calling them “unlawful and inhumane”. After the coup d’état, the African bloc demanded that constitutional order be restored and imposed sanctions on Niger – cut off the state from financial transactions and electricity supplies, and closed border crossings. For a landlocked country, that means blocking imports. “The sanctions are not intended to find a solution, but to bring us to our knees and humiliate us,” General Tchiani said.
ECOWAS, after Sunday’s talks, did not agree to a three-year transitional period in Niger. – ECOWAS does not accept any prolonged transition in the region. They must prepare for the transfer of power as soon as possible,” Abdel-Fatau Musah, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at ECOWAS, told the BBC. “The sooner they return power to civilians and concentrate on their primary duty of defending Niger’s territorial integrity, the better for them,” he added.
Protest by coup supporters. “Stop military intervention”
Thousands of supporters of the military junta that seized power in late July demonstrated in the center of Niger’s capital Niamey on Sunday.
The demonstration took place a day after a televised speech by Niger’s new leader, General Abdurrahman Tchiani, and after Saturday’s visit by representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which threatens Niger with military intervention.
In the central square of the capital, demonstrators chanted m. slogans “no to sanctions”, “down with France” and “stop military intervention”.
Meeting of the leaders of the Niger junta with representatives of ECOWAS
On Saturday morning, a plane carrying ECOWAS emissaries arrived in the capital of Niger. The delegation, led by the country’s former leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, met with Gen. Tchiani, as well as the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. According to a source close to ECOWAS, cited by AFP, the delegation was to convey its “firm position” to the military in Niamey.
ECOWAS Commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah said on Friday that the bloc had set a day for possible military intervention in Niger and that it was ready to do so if ordered to do so.
In late July, the Nigerien military junta overthrew democratically elected President Bazoum, a Western ally and a key figure in fighting jihadist forces in the Sahel. General Tchiani declared himself the new leader of the country.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO