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Deadline for Niger coup leaders to restore democracy arrives

ECOWAS meet over Niger   -  
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Chinedu Asadu/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Leaders of Niger's military coup face a deadline of 6 August to release and reinstate the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

The cut-off date was set by the regional bloc known as ECOWAS and if demands are not met it may face foreign military intervention.

Residents in Niamey, like Bachirou Seyni, are hoping that will not happen.

"From my point of view, the [threatened] attack is unfounded and should not take place," he says.

"We're on the road to democracy and in a democracy it's talks that have to take place, so there's no need to take up arms for that."

It was first reported that ECOWAS was refusing to consider military intervention and to focus on sanctions. But later, the bloc's military leaders said they had drawn up a plan for an armed invasion if the coup leaders didn't back down.

Ben Hassane Salha also lives in the capital.  

"I don't think that attacking Niger in the near future will be limited to economic sanctions, and the Nigerien people will suffer at first."

Life is already getting harder as economic sanctions have led to price rises for basic products like rice and vegetables.

Farida Ide Zakari has struggled to do her usual shop. 

"We're very worried because the banks have been closed, we can no longer withdraw money and there's a rise in food prices. 

"Now because of the closure [of borders] and [bank] accounts, subsistence is getting harder and harder in Niamey, really."

Borders are closed and Nigeria has cut its electricity supply to Niger, leading to longer and more frequent power cuts.

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