Emily Smith
Thu, Aug 10, 2023 9:00 PM

Niger Junta Names New Government as Regional Leaders Demand End to Military Takeover

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Niger Junta Names New Government as Regional Leaders Demand End to Military Takeover
Niger's junta has announced a new government, defying regional leaders who demanded an end to the military takeover. The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) threatened to use force to restore democracy but is now convening a summit to establish further actions. The UN secretary-general has voiced concerns over the detained ousted president and his family. The meeting in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, could determine the next steps, potentially including military intervention. This political crisis poses a threat to the stability of West Africa's Sahel region.

Niamey/Abuja - Niger's junta named a new government overnight, forcing its agenda before a summit on Thursday of regional leaders who have demanded that they end their military takeover.

West African heads of state meeting in Nigeria later on Thursday aim to agree on a plan of action for Niger, where coup leaders have refused to stand down despite the bloc's threat that it could use force to restore democracy.

Since the July 26 power grab shocked the region, the defiant junta has rebuffed diplomatic overtures and ignored an August 6 deadline from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) to reinstate ousted president Mohamed Bazoum.

Mahamane Roufai Laouali, cited as "secretary-general of the government", read out 21 names on television without specifying any further plans. Three coup leaders have been named ministers of defence, interior, and sports, respectively, in the government, which is about half the size of the previous one.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres voiced concern about Bazoum and his family after his party reported that they were being detained at the presidential residence without electricity or running water, and had gone days without fresh food.

"The secretary-general ... once again calls for his immediate, unconditional release and his reinstatement as head of state," a UN spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, could prove a pivotal moment in the standoff. The bloc's leaders are expected to agree on next steps, which could include military intervention -- something an Ecowas official has said would be a last resort.

Envoys of the Nigerian president, and Ecowas chair Bola Tinubu met coup leaders in the capital, Niamey, on Wednesday, offering a glimmer of hope for dialogue after previous missions were spurned.

Any escalation would further destabilize West Africa's Sahel region, one of the world's poorest, where a long-running Islamist insurgency has displaced millions and stoked a hunger crisis.

The coup was triggered by internal politics but it has evolved into an international entanglement, with Ecowas, the UN, and Western countries putting pressure on the junta to stand down, while military governments in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso have vowed to defend it.

The political crisis in Niger continues to escalate as the junta defies regional leaders who have demanded an end to their military takeover. Despite threats from the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) of potential military intervention, the coup leaders have continued to hold onto power.

The defiant junta has ignored diplomatic overtures and refused to reinstate ousted president Mohamed Bazoum, prompting concerns from the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Guterres has called for the immediate release of Bazoum and his family, who are reportedly being detained without basic necessities such as electricity, running water, and fresh food.

Regional leaders are set to meet in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss a plan of action for Niger. The meeting could determine the next steps and potential courses of action, including the possibility of military intervention. Leaders from Ecowas will be seeking a resolution to the political crisis and a return to democracy.

Mahamane Roufai Laouali, the self-declared "secretary-general of the government," announced the formation of a new government, naming 21 individuals for various ministerial positions. Three coup leaders have been appointed as ministers of defense, interior, and sports.

However, the appointment of the new government further complicates the situation. It highlights the junta's determination to maintain control and resist demands from regional and international actors. The move could potentially lead to further instability in the country and the broader Sahel region.

Neighboring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso, which are also governed by military regimes, have expressed support for the Niger junta. This solidarity among military governments poses a challenge to efforts aimed at restoring democracy and resolving the crisis.

The situation in Niger is of significant concern due to the broader implications it holds for the Sahel region. The region is already plagued by an ongoing Islamist insurgency, displacing millions of people and exacerbating a humanitarian crisis. Any escalation of the political crisis in Niger could further destabilize the region and hinder efforts to address the existing challenges.

The summit in Abuja is crucial in determining the next steps and potential actions to be taken. The bloc's leaders will need to carefully consider the ramifications of various approaches, including the possibility of military intervention. A coordinated and decisive response is required to address the political impasse in Niger and work towards restoring democracy and stability in the country and the wider Sahel region.

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

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