Niger Coup: West African Nation Threatens to Use Force on Niger Coup Leaders
31 July, 2023 | Anamika Singh Parihar
West Africa's leaders threatened military force against Niger if the democratically elected president isn't re-elected within a week.
Leaders of West Africa vowed to use military force against Niger on Sunday if the country’s democratically elected president is not put back in office within a week after soldiers overthrew the government there on July 26.
Following a crisis summit in Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a 15-member regional group, issued the demand. It repeated similar threats from France and the United States, two of Niger’s most important security friends, who threatened to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and cut military ties if the country’s ousted leader, Mohamed Bazoum, wasn’t given his position back.
The economic sanction could have glaring and severe impact on the common people of the Niger, as most of the people live there are poor.
Military Leaders Ousted Niger’s President
On July 26 the Nigerian Soldiers encircled the Presidential Palace in the capital Niamey, and they had thrown out the democratically elected leader. African Union called it an “attempted coup d’etat”.
After his soldiers detained President Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the chief of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself the head of a transitional government on Friday.
“In addition to the immediate cessation of budget support, all cooperation actions in the domain of security are suspended indefinitely with immediate effect,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Saturday.
Borrel further added in his statement EU will support all the future decisions of West Africa’s regional block along with the adoption of sanctions.
Following military coup, the African Union urged the coup’s military commanders to return to their barracks. In response, the European Union and France have cut off financial support to Niger, and the United States has vowed to do the same.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned an attempted power grab by Niger’s Military. He demanded an immediate release of the President. He also spoke with Niger President Mohamed Bazoum on the very same day of the Coup and assured his full support and solidarity.
The overthrown leader of Niger had the “unflagging support” of the United States’ top diplomat earlier. After his overthrow in the coup, Blinken promised Bazoum over the phone that Washington will endeavor to restore the constitutional order, the state department reported on Friday.
Attacks on the French Embassy
Thousands of the supporters of the Military junta that took over Niger in the coup by ousting the elected President marched through the streets of Niamey on July 30. While sloganeering in support of the Junta, they denounced the country’s former colonial power.
An agitated crowd burnt down the French flag and also set ablaze the door at the French Embassy. Black smoke was seen across the city due to the burning of the door in the video captured by the News agency The Associated Press.
Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, stated on Sunday that attack against France and its interests will not be accepted. He declared that there would be a swift retaliation for anyone who harmed French citizens, the military, diplomats, or other French authorities.
West African Nations imposed sanctions in view of the incident and threatened to use force if Niger’s coup leaders fail to reinstate ousted President Mohammed Bazoum and restore the democratic process.
Niger is officially known as the Republic of Niger. It is one of the landlocked countries in West Africa.