One of West Africa's most prominent traditional and religious leaders flew to Niger's capital, Niamey, Wednesday to meet with the country's coup leaders.
The visit of the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, came a day ahead of an ECOWAS regional summit Thursday in Nigeria to determine the bloc's response to Niger's junta's non-compliance with their deadline to free President Mohamed Bazoum.
Sanusi, a respected Tijanniyah Sufi spiritual leader and former Nigerian Central Bank governor, was able to meet coup leader Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, former head of Bazoum's presidential guard. What was discussed has not yet been disclosed.
Niger's new military junta has taken steps in recent days to entrench itself in power and has rejected international efforts to mediate, a day early blocking emissaries from the African Union, United Nations and ECOWAS from visiting Niger.