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Niger: West Africa Warns Of Using Force Against Coup Leaders, Protestors Attack French Embassy

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Days after Niger’s military ousted President Mohammed Bazoum, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions and warned of using force against the coup leaders if they did not fulfil the demand of reinstating ousted President Mohammed Bazoum in a week’s time.

The leaders of the ECOWAS demanded that constitutional order be restored at an emergency summit held in Nigeria to discuss last week’s coup and threatened retaliation if it wasn’t.

According to their statement, “Such measures may include the use of force,” and also emphasized on the immediate meeting of defence officials to ensure its implementation.

The coup led to violence by supporters of junta which attacked the French embassy in Niger’s capital Niamey, destroyed the flags of their former colonial power and their mission, in response the police tackled them with tear gas.

Some rioters tore and crushed the board reading “Embassy of France in Niger” under their feet. Instead they put Niger and Russian flags in their place and sloganeered “Long live Russia”, “Long live Putin” and “Down with France”.

Visuals of the scene appeared scary as parts of embassy were engulfing in flames on Sunday, while the injured with bloodied bodies were taken to hospitals. The junta supporters protested against France’s decision to suspend development aid and budgetary support to Niger over the coup.

The nation in the Sahel region witnessed a seventh coup.

Mahamat Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, who took office in 2021 following a coup, saw his Nigerian counterpart Bola Tinubu outside of the conference and offered to communicate with the military chiefs in Niger, according to two niger’s presidential aides.

State-run Niger TV showed Deby meeting them after his arrival.

West Africa swung in action and the eight-member West African Economic and Monetary Union and ECOWAS announced that they will immediately seal their borders with Niger, ban commercial flights, suspend financial transactions, freeze national assets, and stop providing aid.

Following coups in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea over the past three years, ECOWAS placed comparable sanctions on each of those nations.

Political analysts claim that despite the fact that financial sanctions caused debt defaults, particularly in Mali, they harmed ordinary citizens more than the military rulers who have taken control of some of the world’s poorest nations. All three nations have established timelines for the restoration of civilian government, but little has been done to actually carry them out.

The international community, including the United States, the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, and former colonial power France, has strongly denounced the military coup in Niger that started on Wednesday.

All of them have refused to accept the new leaders under General Abdourahamane Tiani’s regime.

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