Lagos, Aug 9 (EFE).- Coup leaders in Niger have declined to meet with diplomats from West African states, the African Union, and the United Nations, who were on a mission to restore stability in the country after the military overthrew a civilian government last month.
A man carries a tray on his head in Niamey, Niger, 07 August 2023. EFE-EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO
The regional bloc known as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said the military leaders in Niger rejected a visit from the tripartite delegation.
Cars drive on a main road in Niamey, Niger, 07 August 2023. EFE-EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO
“The ECOWAS-AU-UN mission to Niger did not take place,” the bloc said in a statement.
A group of men buy lottery tickets from a lottery stall in Niamey, Niger, 07 August 2023. EFE-EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO
“The mission was aborted following a late night communication from the military authorities in Niger indicating their unavailability to receive the tripartite delegation.”
A man pushes a cart loaded with vegetables for sale in Niamey, Niger, 07 August 2023. EFE-EPA/ISSIFOU DJIBO
ECOWAS emphasized that the intended mission was part of their ongoing efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the current crisis in Niger.
The bloc pledged that they would persist in employing all necessary measures to reinstate constitutional order in Niger.
A source from the self-proclaimed National Council for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), responsible for the coup, told EFE that the military leaders view the ECOWAS mission as “futile,” as their stance regarding Niger is already well-established.
The source criticized the financial and trade sanctions imposed by the regional bloc, along with its threat of military intervention in Niger unless President Mohamed Bazoum is reinstated.
The leaders of ECOWAS nations are scheduled to convene for a second summit on Niger on Thursday to determine their next steps after their seven-day ultimatum for the coup plotters to restore constitutional order expired on Sunday.
The Niger junta has chosen to disregard the warnings by ECOWAS.
The military administration has designated a new prime minister, further solidifying its hold on power.
The military rulers have enforced airspace closures, cautioning that any use of force would elicit an immediate and vigorous response.
Possible military interventions have divided the continent, with the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Ivory Coast, and Senegal clearly expressing their readiness to intervene with their armed forces.
Conversely, Mali and Burkina Faso, countries with close ties to Moscow and governed by military juntas, oppose the use of force.
They argue that any intervention in Niger would essentially amount to a declaration of war against them as well.
The military seized control on July 26, announcing the removal of the president, suspension of governmental institutions, border closures (later lifted), and the imposition of a nighttime curfew until further notice.
Niger thus became the fourth West African nation led by a military junta, following similar coups in Mali, Guinea-Conakry, and Burkina Faso between 2020 and 2022. EFE