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Sun, Jul 30, 2023 2:25 PM

Niger Warns Against Armed Intervention as West African Leaders Meet

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Niger Warns Against Armed Intervention as West African Leaders Meet
The military junta in Niger has issued a warning against any armed intervention in the country, as West African leaders gather in Nigeria's capital for an emergency summit to decide on measures to pressure the army into restoring constitutional order.

NIAMEY/ABUJA (Reuters) - The military junta in Niger has issued a warning against any armed intervention in the country, as West African leaders gather in Nigeria's capital for an emergency summit to decide on measures to pressure the army into restoring constitutional order.

The Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has 15 members, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union, which has eight members, may suspend Niger from its institutions, cut it off from the regional central bank and financial market, and close the borders.

Chad, Niger's eastern neighbor and a non-member of the two regional organizations, has been invited to the ECOWAS summit, according to a statement from the Chadian President's office on Saturday.

Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world and receives nearly $2 billion in annual official development assistance, according to the World Bank. It is also a security partner of France and the United States, both of which use it as a base to combat Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region of West and Central Africa.

West African leaders may also, for the first time, consider military intervention to restore President Mohamed Bazoum, who was overthrown when General Abdourahamane Tiani was declared the new head of state on Friday.

Ahead of Sunday's summit, the Nigerien military leaders warned on Saturday evening in a statement read on national television against any military intervention.

"The goal of the (ECOWAS) meeting is to approve a plan of aggression against Niger through an imminent military intervention in Niamey in collaboration with other non-ECOWAS African countries and some Western countries," said the junta spokesman, Colonel Amadou Abdramane.

"We want to once again remind ECOWAS or any other adventurer of our firm determination to defend our homeland," he added.

The junta issued a second statement on Saturday evening, inviting the citizens of the capital to take to the streets from 7 a.m. local time (6:00 GMT), to protest against ECOWAS and show their support for the new military leaders.

The military coup in Niger has been widely condemned by its neighbors and international partners, who have refused to recognize the new leaders and demanded that Mohamed Bazoum be restored to his functions.

Mohamed Bazoum has not provided any news since the start of Thursday, when he was confined to the presidential palace, although the European Union, France, and other countries affirm that they still recognize him as the legitimate president.

The European Union and France have suspended their financial support to Niger, and the United States has threatened to do the same.

At the end of an emergency meeting held on Friday, the African Union issued a statement demanding that the military return to their barracks and restore constitutional order within 15 days.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-07-30 News

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