Watch; Niger Coup Leaders Under Pressure As Deadline Approaches

Barely 24 hours to the West African bloc deadline for the military to relinquish control or face armed intervention, pressure rose on the leaders of the coup in Niger Republic on Saturday.

Former colonial power France, with whom the junta severed military links shortly after taking control, said it would “firmly” support whatever action the ECOWAS bloc took after the Sunday deadline expired….CONTINUE READING

The grouping’s military commanders said they had decided on a plan for a possible intervention in response to the crisis, the latest of many coups in Africa’s Sahel area since 2020.

“All the elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out,” ECOWAS commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah said after the talks finished.

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These included “the resources needed, and including the how and when we are going to deploy the force”, he added.

“We want diplomacy to work, and we want this message clearly transmitted to them (the junta) that we are giving them every opportunity to reverse what they have done,” Musah said.

Paris said “The future of Niger and the stability of the entire region are at stake” as tension ratchet up over the future of one of the world’s poorest countries.

Niger played an important role in Western attempts to battle a jihadist insurgency that has plagued the Sahel since 2012, with France and the US stationing approximately 1,500 and 1,000 troops in the country, respectively.

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Anti-French sentiment is rising in the region, while Russian activity, typically through the Wagner mercenary group, is increasing. Russia has cautioned against external armed intervention.

The junta has warned that it will respond with force.

Military juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso, which have been in power since 2020, have warned that any regional intervention would be a “declaration of war” against them.

President Mohamed Bazoum, 63, has been kept captive at his official Niamey mansion by coup plotters since July 26.

In his first extended statement since his detention, he claimed a successful putsch would “have devastating consequences for our country, our region, and the entire world” in an essay published in The Washington Post on Thursday.

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Bazoum, who won an election in 2021 that marked Niger’s first-ever transfer of power from one civilian government to another, called “the US government and the entire international community to assist us in restoring our constitutional order.”

Nigeria has stopped electrical supplies to Niger, raising concerns about the country’s humanitarian condition, while Niamey has blocked the huge Sahel country’s borders, hindering food deliveries.

Washington announced the suspension of some aid initiatives while pledging that “life-saving humanitarian and food assistance will continue….CONTINUE READING