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HomeNewsNiger Coup: West African Leaders Impose Sanctions and Threaten Motion

Niger Coup: West African Leaders Impose Sanctions and Threaten Motion


West African leaders on Sunday threatened army motion towards Niger, the place troopers seized energy in a coup on Wednesday, until the nation’s democratically elected president was restored to workplace inside per week.

The demand was issued by the Financial Group of West African States, or ECOWAS, the 15-member regional bloc, after a disaster summit assembly in Nigeria. It echoed earlier calls by the US and France, main safety allies of Niger, threatening to chop support and army ties until the deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum, was restored.

After coup supporters massed on Sunday exterior the French Embassy within the capital, Niamey, calling for the withdrawal of French troops, President Emmanuel Macron issued a stiffly worded warning. Any assault on France’s residents or pursuits in Niger can be met with an “instant and uncompromising” response, Mr. Macron mentioned in an announcement.

ECOWAS, in an announcement, vowed to take “all measures obligatory” to revive democratic rule in Niger and mentioned that “could embrace using power.” It imposed monetary sanctions on the putschists, led by the brand new self-declared chief, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani.

The newly put in junta, nonetheless, insisted it was going nowhere. In an announcement earlier than the summit, it warned forcefully towards any overseas army intervention.

“We wish to as soon as extra remind ECOWAS or another adventurer of our agency dedication to defend our homeland,” a junta spokesman mentioned on Saturday night time in a televised assertion.

The summits and dueling statements fueled the rising sense of disaster in Niger, an unlimited and impoverished nation the place the coup caught many unexpectedly, together with Western international locations now searching for to engineer a reverse.

That may be a tall order: Specialists say coups are very arduous to overturn as soon as a number of days have handed. However the calls for are a measure of the alarmed response to the turmoil in a rustic seen by the West as an important ally in a area the place Islamist militants are increasing their grip.

France has about 1,500 troops in Niger, which it dominated as a colony till 1960, and there are about 1,100 American troops, many stationed at drone bases used to hold out airstrikes towards militants in Niger and neighboring international locations.

On Saturday, France and the European Union suspended some support to Niger, and the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, mentioned that American safety ties, price about $500 million since 2012, had been additionally in jeopardy.

As ever within the area today, Russia loomed within the background.

Coup supporters waved Russian flags in Niamey on Sunday and hung one on the wall of the French Embassy — an echo of comparable scenes in Burkina Faso and Mali, the place Russian flags additionally emerged amongst folks celebrating coups in 2021 and 2022.

Specialists say there isn’t any proof that Russia is behind the coup in Niger, the place private components are thought-about a extra possible set off. Tensions had been constructing steadily between Mr. Bazoum and the top of the presidential guard, Basic Tchiani.

(Mr. Bazoum’s whereabouts remained unsure on Sunday, though he was broadly presumed to nonetheless be in detention on the presidential palace.)

Nonetheless, specialists say it’s one other signal of how Russia has positioned itself as the symbol of anti-Western, and particularly anti-French, sentiment in broad patches of Africa. And that helps to create different openings for the Kremlin.

In neighboring Mali, about 1,000 paramilitaries from Russia’s Wagner personal army firm have changed about 5,000 French troops who pulled out final 12 months. Wagner can also be a serious presence within the Central African Republic, the place it protects President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, who held a referendum on Sunday geared toward prolonging his tenure.

The coup in Niger signifies that an uninterrupted line of nations stretching throughout Africa, from the Atlantic to the Purple Sea, is beneath army management. Many are former French colonies the place a visceral anger at perceived French paternalism and post-colonial meddling has boosted assist for the putschists.

“Niger has suffered an excessive amount of beneath France’s orders,” mentioned Karimou Sidi, a pro-coup demonstrator in Niamey on Sunday. “Sufficient is sufficient.”

The coups are straining conventional regional blocs, like ECOWAS, which lately has suspended three of its states — Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali — over army coups, with Niger probably following quickly.

In current a long time, ECOWAS has deployed peacekeepers to quite a few crisis-hit international locations, together with Liberia and Guinea-Bissau. Regardless of its powerful speak on Sunday, it might have to discover a center path to navigate its approach out of the Niger disaster, mentioned Idayat Hassan, a Nigerian analyst.

“Any robust sanctions will influence residents probably the most in a rustic and area with more and more robust anti-West sentiments, whereas additionally pushing the putschists extra into the palms of Russia and or Prigozhin and Wagner forces,” Ms. Hassan, a senior affiliate with the Heart for Strategic and Worldwide Research, a Washington-based analysis institute, mentioned, referring to Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, who leads the mercenary group.

Omar Hama Saley contributed reporting from Niamey, Niger, and Elian Peltier from Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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