Conflicts & War

Niger junta leader defiant in face of sanctions, talk of intervention

Niamey, Aug 2 (EFE).- The leader of the military junta that seized power last week in Niger said Wednesday that the new government will not accede to the demands of neighboring countries and the West for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani addressed the nation hours after a visit to Niamey by a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has imposed sanctions on Niger and said that it may use force to restore the elected president.

Denouncing the ECOWAS sanctions as “unjust and inhumane,” he vowed that the junta, which calls itself the National Council for Safeguarding the Homeland (CNSP), will not be intimidated.

“We refuse any interference in the internal affairs of Niger,” Tiani said in a speech on the eve of Niger’s independence day.

ECOWAS, with 15 member-states, has given the junta until next Sunday to step down or face the possibility of military intervention.

The juntas currently ruling Mali and Burkina Faso have stated that they would treat a military intervention in Niger as an attack on them as well.

Another of Niger’s neighbors, Algeria, likewise spoke out against the notion of a military solution to the crisis.

Accusing ECOWAS of wanting to “humiliate” Niger, Tiani claimed that the majority in his country supported the July 26 coup and that the opposition is coming from “individuals who think they have a particular right to the Nigerien state and are allied to foreign lobbies.”

France, the former colonial power in Niger, and the United States have also called for the reinstatement of Bazoum.

“Once emotions have cooled,” Tiani said, the CNSP hopes to create the conditions to hold general elections within a “short and reasonable period.”

EFE mt/dr

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