An emergency meeting between Wester African nations on the coup in Niger has been postponed indefinitely as concerns over the health of detained President Mohammed Bazoum increase.
Members of the Economic Cooperation of West African Nations (ECOWAS) were due to meet in the Ghanaian capital Accra on Saturday to discuss how to tackle the Niger crisis after they approved the deployment of a stand-by force to restore constitutional order.…CONTINUE READING
But the meeting was indefinitely suspended for “technical reasons”. Sources said the meeting was originally set to inform the organisation’s leaders about “the best options” for activating and deploying a military force.
– Advertisement –
“The military option seriously envisaged by ECOWAS is not a war against Niger and its people but a police operation against hostage-takers and their accomplices,” Niger’s Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou said.
ECOWAS is determined to stop the sixth military takeover in the region in just three years and has severed financial transactions and electricity supplies and closed borders with landlocked Niger, blocking much-needed imports to one of the world’s poorest countries.
At a previous summit last week, ECOWAS warned it could intervene militarily and set August 6 as a deadline for the military to restore democracy and free Bazoum. However, no military action followed when the deadline lapsed.
The coup leaders have since named a 21-person cabinet, which met for the first time on Friday.
‘Inhuman and degrading’
Meanwhile, concerns over the health of the deposed president are mounting. Bazoum “had a visit by his doctor today”, a member of his entourage told the AFP news agency, adding the physician also brought food for the president, his wife and his son who are being held with him.
– Advertisement –
The European Union and the African Union joined others in sounding the alarm for Bazoum on Friday.
UN rights chief Volker Turk said Bazoum’s reported detention conditions “could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of international human rights law”.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warned the “coup plotters must face harsh consequences should anything happen” to Bazoum or his family....CONTINUE READING