Niger hangs in the balance as junta disregards final notice from West African bloc

Niger hangs in the balance as junta ignores ultimatum from West African bloc

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NIAMEY, Niger – August 6, 2023: Mohamed Toumba, among the leading figures of the National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland, participates in the presentation of coup advocates and welcomes them at an arena in the capital city ofNiger The 7-day due date provided by Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the military junta on July 30 for the release and reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazum ended at midnight.

Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency through Getty Images

Niger’s coup leaders on Monday closed its airspace after a final notice from the Economic Community of West African States to renew chosen President Mohamed Bazoum ended on Sunday night.

The military junta calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland took power on July 26 and apprehended Bazoum, with the leader of the nation’s governmental guard, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, declaring himself the nation’s brand-new leader.

The coup was commonly condemned by the global neighborhood, consisting of the U.S., the European Union, Russia and previous colonial power France, together with Nigerian- led local body ECOWAS, which likewise approved the junta.

Many foreign nations have actually currently started leaving embassy personnel and people from Niger, while the similarity the U.S. and U.K. have actually partly suspended help programs.

The 15- member ECOWAS provided the military junta one week to return the chosen federal government to power and bring back constitutional order, threatening making use of force if its needs were not hearkened.

As the Sunday night due date loomed, countless Nigeriens collected at an arena in the capital Niamey to reveal assistance for the coup leaders, while rallying versus France and other Western powers and voicing affection for Russia.

NIAMEY, NIGER – JULY 30: Coup advocates require to the streets after the army took power in Niamey, Niger on July 30,2023 (Photo by Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency through Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency|Anadolu Agency|Getty Images

In a declaration on nationwide tv on Sunday, a spokesperson for the Niger junta duplicated claims that a “foreign power” was preparing military intervention, and stated the nation’s military stands prepared to react.

ECOWAS defence chiefs fulfilled late recently to prepare prepare for a possible military action, and Abdel-Fatau Musah, commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, stated on Friday that the bloc’s presidents will make a decision.

“All the elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out here, including the resources needed, the how and when we are going to deploy the force,” Musah stated at the close of the three-day conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who likewise functions as chair of ECOWAS, sent out a letter to the senate on Friday, asking members to back a local intervention in the nearby nation, according to regional media reports.

There were no airplanes seen over Nigerien airspace on Monday, according to FlightRadar24, which stated in an article that flights currently in the air when the airspace closed were rerouted or diverted. It included that the no-fly order is most likely to be extended beyond the preliminary Monday night expiration.

“The closure of Niger’s airspace dramatically widens the area over which most commercial flights between Europe and southern Africa cannot fly. Flights must already take a detour of sorts around Libya and Sudan,” the flight tracker stated.