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Niger students rally in support of coup leader

Students protesting in Niamey   -  
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Around a hundred students have demonstrated in the Nigerien capital Niamey to support the military who took control of the country in a coup on 26 July. 

Protesters were angry at sanctions and threats of military intervention by leaders in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Niger's presidential guard ousted and held President Mohamed Bazoum in the coup. 

The guard's commander, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, announce that he would become interim leader and the president of the caretaker National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP).

One of the student protesters, Karimou Soumana, said: "I'd like to appeal to the media and even to the people of Niger to understand that what ECOWAS or the international community is doing is nothing more than intimidation and that we don't even believe in [armed intervention].

"All people have to do is keep their Nigerien spirit alive and that's what's going to get us out of this intimidation."

ECOWAS imposed sanctions on Niger and gave the junta that toppled elected president Mohamed Bazoum one week to restore him or face the potential use of force.

Another student said the country could manage without the help of foreign countries. 

"Sixty-three years of aid, where are we?" asked Daouda Djibo.

"We're last in Africa, and yet we're told that Niger is very rich in potential, and then we're last, so what's the point of foreign aid? We'd be resilient behind our [Defence and Security Forces] to be able to wrest our independence, our new independence."

Niger's junta has vowed to respond "immediately" to any foreign intervention. Meanwhile he has been holding Bazoum and his family in his official residence in the capital Niamey for nine days.

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