The proposal by Niger Republic’s military junta for a three-year transition plan has been rejected by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The junta, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, had pledged at a meeting with an ECOWAS delegation, headed by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, to restore democratic governance within three years.
Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, expressed in an interview with the BBC that ECOWAS found the proposal unacceptable, thus potentially paving the way for a military intervention.
Meanwhile, a multitude of Nigeriens took to the streets to show support for the military junta. Their demonstration coincided with ECOWAS’ ongoing consideration of military intervention to restore former President Mohamed Bazoum to power if diplomatic negotiations failed.
This rally occurred amid discussions between the ECOWAS delegation, led by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar, and the junta. However, an anonymous government official from Niger reported that these talks yielded minimal progress.
The official also highlighted internal divisions within the presidential guard, which ousted President Bazoum, suggesting that a military intervention might prompt most soldiers within the presidential complex to flee.
Pope Francis added his voice to calls for peace in Niger, emphasizing the need for a diplomatic solution to the political crisis. He urged for efforts towards a peaceful resolution and stability in the Sahel region.
In a televised address, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the coup leader, both defended the junta’s position and warned that any attack on Niger would be met with resistance. He asserted that the transition of power to civilian rule would not exceed three years.
The rejection of the junta’s proposal by ECOWAS contrasts with the organization’s demand for an immediate return to democratic governance and the reinstatement of President Bazoum. The situation remains fraught, with potential military confrontation looming if diplomatic solutions fall through.
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