African leaders issue ultimatum to Niger junta


African leaders have united in their response to the recent coup in Niger, demanding that the junta cede power within one week or face potential military intervention. The West African regional bloc, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), held an emergency summit in Nigeria, where it issued a stern ultimatum for the reinstatement of Niger’s elected president, Mohamed Bazoum. Failure to comply with this demand could lead to “all measures,” including the use of force, to restore constitutional order.

General Abdourahamane Tiani, who has taken control of the country, cited security concerns related to jihadist activities, corruption, and economic challenges as the reasons for the coup. However, this move has alarmed the continent and the international community.

The coup in Niger marks the third such incident in the Sahel region within the past few years, signaling a fragile political situation in the area. Leaders in the region, especially those with Western alliances, are becoming increasingly vulnerable to both jihadist insurgency and internal military takeovers.

In response to the coup, former colonial ruler France and the European Union have already suspended security cooperation and financial aid to Niger. The United States has also voiced concern and threatened to reconsider its assistance.

The ECOWAS’s decisive action has been welcomed by the United States, which expressed support for preserving Niger’s democracy and the immediate release of President Bazoum. However, the specific means by which ECOWAS could implement its ultimatum and potential use of force remains uncertain.

In addition to financial sanctions on the junta leaders and Niger as a whole, the 15-member ECOWAS has frozen all commercial and financial transactions between member states and Niger, significantly impacting the country’s already struggling economy.

Niger’s Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou has expressed concern that these sanctions could have severe economic and social consequences for the nation. Meanwhile, Bazoum’s PNDS party has called for demonstrations demanding the release of the detained president.

The situation has escalated, with thousands of demonstrators rallying in support of the junta in the capital, Niamey. Some even attempted to storm the French embassy, while others shouted slogans in support of Russia, reflecting a complex and volatile political landscape in the region.

The coup in Niger has led to condemnation and punitive actions from the international community. France, which has a military presence in the country, has suspended development aid and budgetary support. The European Union has also suspended security cooperation and budgetary aid indefinitely. The United States, with its own troops stationed in Niger, has warned that the coup threatens years of successful cooperation and financial assistance.

The African Union has strongly condemned the coup, expressing deep concern over the recurrence of military takeovers on the continent.

Niger’s history since gaining independence in 1960 has been marked by political instability, with multiple coups and attempts to seize power. The latest coup poses significant challenges not only for the country itself but also for regional stability and international relations. As the situation unfolds, the world watches closely to see how the junta and international community respond to ECOWAS’s ultimatum and the future of democracy in Niger.

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