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ECOWAS issues ultimatum to Niger amid popular show of defiance

ECOWAS Presidents are seen during the heads of states and government extraordinary session in Abuja on July 30, 2023   -  
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KOLA SULAIMON/AFP or licensors


West African Regional bloc ECOWAS issued on Sunday an ultimatum of one week to the military junta that took power in Niger earlier this week to return the country to constitutional normality.

Thousands of supporters of the military junta responded by taking to the streets of the capital, Niamey, waving Russian flags and denouncing former colonial power, France.

"I would like to say the European Union, African Union and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States, Ed.), please stay out of our business", pleaded one Niamey resident, Omar Baomoussa.

In a statement, published after the emergency meeting, held in Abuja in Nigeria, the regional bloc did not exclude the use of force.

The spokesperson for Niger coup leaders, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, responded with determination.

"The objective of this meeting is to agree a plan of aggression against Niger through an imminent military intervention in Niamey in collaboration with African nations, not members of the organisation and certain Western countries. We remind ECOWAS once more of our firm determination to defend our country", he said.

The mutineers said they overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum, who was elected two years ago in Niger’s first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence from France, because he wasn’t able to secure the nation from growing jihadi violence.

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