Niger coup: West African leaders suspend ties with junta
31 July 2023 | 5:32 am
The Nigerien junta has warned its West African neighbors from carrying out a military intervention in the country. Meanwhile, coup supporters attacked the French Embassy amid unrest in Niamey.
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West African leaders have agreed to keep all options, including military force, open to restore civilian rule in Niger. At a crisis ECOWAS summit in neighboring Nigeria, they ordered the deployment of a standby force. However, there are no signs Niger's junta will hand back power.
Niger's coup leader said "our ambition is not to confiscate power." This comes as an ECOWAS delegation arrived for peace talks after indicating a standby force was ready to intervene.
The ECOWAS force is on standby for military intervention in Niger if there's no peaceful end to the coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, an official for the regional bloc said.
ECOWAS sanctions on Niger appear to be a double-edged sword. Many Nigerians living near the border with Niger, which Nigeria shut after the coup, say the economic and humanitarian impacts are enormous.
France says it will not budge in its refusal to engage with Niger's coup leaders. A month after their takeover, they issued a Monday deadline to the French ambassador to leave their country, but Paris has insisted its envoy will stay put. Also, Africa sets its own stage in Kenya for conversations about its experience of the ravages of climate change. With the first ever Africa climate summit now a week away, we speak to its CEO about the existential stakes faced by the continent.
The EU foreign ministers met to discuss ways to help West Africa's ECOWAS regional group handle the military takeover in Niger. The meeting came the junta stripped the French ambassador of diplomatic immunity.
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The regional bloc CCAS, and the country's opposition coalition, have urged international partners to push for a rapid return to civilian rule. Also in this edition: In Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 48 protesters are reported to have been killed in the eastern city of Goma. And finally: In South Africa, the death toll rises to 76 after the devastating Johannesburg fire at an abandoned apartment block that housed dozens of homeless people and squatters.
Niger's military rulers are reopening the country's airspace after seizing power on July 26. The junta previously cited the threat of military intervention from the West African bloc ECOWAS as the reason for the closure.
Exactly six weeks after the coup in Niger, FRANCE 24 interviewed Abdel-Fatau Musah, the West African bloc ECOWAS's Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. He insisted that ECOWAS was not discussing any kind of transition with the junta in Niamey and that instead the bloc continued to demand the release of President Mohamed Bazoum and the immediate restoration of constitutional order.
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