Conflicts & War

Niger’s coup leaders call ECOWAS sanctions ‘illegal and inhumane’

Niamey, Aug 20 (EFE).- The president of the military council ruling Niger questioned on Saturday the legality of sanctions the Economic Community of West African States imposed on the country following a coup last month.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland, which led the July 26 coup, said in a televised address that the measures were “illegal and inhumane.”

Tiani accused ECOWAS of “depriving the Nigerien people of essential financial resources, hindering their economy and small businesses” and of “preparing an occupation army in complicity with a foreign power alien to our community space,” referring to France.

Tiani said ECOWAS “does not measure the consequences that a military intervention against Niger would have in the entire region” and “totally ignores” that it is thanks to the professionalism of the Nigerian Army that it was possible to prevent terrorists from destabilizing the region.

The council president questioned the legitimacy of the sanctions, which include the closure of borders, the suspension of financial transactions and the blockade of food and pharmaceutical products.

He said these sanctions were adopted “without prior consultation of the transitional authorities, nor of the regional instances, nor of the national parliaments, much less of the sister populations of the countries of the community.”

Tiani said he expressed his gratitude to the “visionary leaders” and “populations in solidarity” who have opposed a military intervention and supported the coup which he said responded to the “longing” of the Nigerien people.

This speech occurs in the context of the threat of the ECOWAS regional bloc to carry out a military intervention in Niger to restore constitutional order if peaceful means fail.

The possible military action has divided the region, where the governments of Nigeria, Benin, the Ivory Coast and Senegal have publicly confirmed in recent weeks the availability of their armies to intervene in Nigerien territory.

At the other extreme, Mali and Burkina Faso, neighboring countries governed by military juntas, said they oppose the use of force. They said it would amount to a declaration of war against them as well, while Chad, Guinea-Conakry, Algeria and Cape Verde have rejected a military intervention and pleaded instead for dialogue. EFE


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