Michael Anderson
Thu, Aug 10, 2023 3:35 PM

Niger's Junta Appoints New Government Ahead of Regional Summit

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Niger's Junta Appoints New Government Ahead of Regional Summit
Niger's junta has defied regional leaders by appointing a new government ahead of a summit aimed at resolving the military takeover crisis in the country. The junta named 21 ministers to the government, which is half the size of the previous one. The move comes as West African heads of state gather in Nigeria to decide on a plan of action for Niger, where the coup leaders have refused to step down. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened military intervention if democracy is not restored.

Niger's junta has taken a defiant stance by announcing a new government, comprising of 21 ministers, ahead of a regional summit on the military takeover crisis. The move indicates the junta's refusal to accede to the demands of West African leaders who have called for an end to the military takeover in the country.

The announcement was made on state television by Mahamane Roufai Laouali, cited as the "Secretary General of the Government," who read out the names of the newly appointed ministers without providing further details about their roles.

Notably, the new government is half the size of its predecessor, reflecting the junta's restructuring plans in the wake of the military coup.

The developments come as West African heads of state gather for a summit in Nigeria, where they aim to agree upon a plan of action to address the crisis in Niger. Despite the bloc's threat of military intervention, the coup leaders have remained defiant, refusing to step down from power.

On July 26, the military takeover unfolded, shocking the region and leading to a flurry of diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the situation. However, the junta has rebuffed diplomatic overtures and ignored the Economic Community of West African States' (ECOWAS) August 6 deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The United Nations has also expressed concern about Bazoum and his family, who are reportedly being detained at the presidential residence under dire conditions, including no electricity, running water, or access to fresh food. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called for their immediate release and the reinstatement of Bazoum as Head of State.

The Abuja summit is expected to play a crucial role in determining the future course of action regarding the standoff in Niger. ECOWAS leaders will discuss potential next steps, including the possibility of military intervention, though this would be considered a last resort.

In a glimmer of hope for dialogue, envoys of Nigeria's President and ECOWAS Chair, Bola Tinubu, met with the coup leaders in Niger's capital, Niamey, on Wednesday. Previous missions to engage with the junta have been met with rejection, so this latest meeting offers a potential breakthrough.

Any escalation in the crisis would have severe consequences for West Africa's Sahel region, already grappling with extreme poverty and a long-running Islamist insurgency that has displaced millions and caused a hunger crisis.

The coup initially stemmed from internal political dynamics within Niger but has since morphed into an international issue. ECOWAS, the United Nations, and Western countries have all exerted pressure on the junta to step down, while neighboring countries with military governments, such as Mali and Burkina Faso, have pledged their support to the junta.

The situation in Niger remains fragile, and the outcome of the regional summit will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for both the country and the wider West African region.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-10 News

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