Niger Coup: ECOWAS demands junta cede power in 7 days

In response to the military junta’s takeover in Niger, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has given the ruling authorities an ultimatum to relinquish power within one week.

ECOWAS leaders convened in Abuja, Nigeria, on Sunday, imposing immediate financial sanctions and demanding the “immediate release and reinstatement” of the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum, who has been held by the military since the coup on Wednesday.

Furthermore, ECOWAS imposed stiff restrictions, directing the following measures to take immediate effect on Niger Republic:

1. Closure of Land and air borders between ECOWAS and Niger.

2. Institution of ECOWAS no flight zone to all commercial flights to and fro Niger.

3. Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger.

4. Freeze all service transactions including energy transactions.

5. Freeze assets of Niger Republic in all ECOWAS Central banks.

6. Freeze all Niger State and the state enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks.

7. Suspension of Niger from all financial assistance and transactions with all financial institutions.

8. Impose travel bans on the military officials and their families involved in the coup attempt including anyone who accepts to take a position in the military government.

The regional bloc made it clear that if the demands are not met within the specified timeframe, they will take all necessary measures to restore constitutional order in Niger, which may include the use of force. In preparation for potential action, the chiefs of defence staff of ECOWAS are scheduled to hold an urgent meeting.

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The junta in Niger expressed concerns that ECOWAS was planning a military intervention in Niamey, the capital of the Sahel country, in collaboration with certain African countries and Western nations. However, ECOWAS did not confirm such plans during their summit.

Meanwhile, former colonial ruler France and the European Union have already taken action in response to the coup, suspending security cooperation and financial aid to Niger. The United States has threatened similar measures.

It is worth noting that last year, ECOWAS leaders agreed to establish a regional security force to combat jihadist activities and prevent military coups. However, specific details regarding the functioning and funding of this force are yet to be finalized, with decisions expected to be made by ECOWAS defence ministers later this year.