The African Union (AU) issued a directive yesterday, instructing its commission to prepare a list of military junta members and their supporters in Niger Republic. This list will serve as the basis for targeted sanctions and the implementation of individual punitive measures.
These additional sanctions are being introduced alongside those already imposed on the junta by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders, which have been endorsed by the AU as well.
Furthermore, the AU has requested a report assessing the impact of the ECOWAS standby force. This comes after ECOWAS hinted at the possibility of using military intervention if the coup leaders fail to reinstate democratic governance and the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. ECOWAS had rejected the military government’s three-year plan to return Niger to democratic rule.
Nigeria’s former military Head of State and leader of the ECOWAS delegation to Niger, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), formally presented the terms proposed by the military junta for resolving the political crisis in Niger to President Bola Tinubu. Meanwhile, suspected armed Islamists reportedly killed 12 soldiers in Niger’s remote southwest.
The AU’s resolutions, outlined in a statement released following a council meeting on August 14, include the suspension of Niger from AU activities due to the coup. The AU also urged its members to refrain from actions that could legitimize the junta.
The coup has raised concerns among Western allies and democratic African nations, as it could potentially facilitate the expansion of Islamist groups in the Sahel region and grant Russia increased influence.
While the ECOWAS has been engaging in negotiations with the junta, it has indicated readiness to deploy troops to Niger if diplomatic efforts prove ineffective. The AU Peace and Security Council emphasized the importance of releasing the detained President Mohamed Bazoum and restoring democratic governance.
The United Nations is facing challenges in Niger due to power cuts caused by economic and travel sanctions imposed by ECOWAS, which have led to increased spending on generators to maintain vaccine storage.
General Abdulsalami Abubakar, ECOWAS’ envoy to Niger, conveyed the junta’s proposed terms for resolving the crisis to ECOWAS and assured that the situation is not likely to escalate beyond diplomatic means. He emphasized the importance of ongoing discussions.
Former Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, along with various other entities, cautioned against military intervention in Niger, likening a conflict within the sub-region to a war between brothers. The focus remains on diplomatic solutions to prevent further destabilization.
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