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Niger's junta warns against military intervention, vows return to civilian rule within 3 years

General Abdourahamane Tiani, Niger's military ruler adresses the nation on Aug. 19, 2023.   -  
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Cleared / AFP


Almost a month after generals deposed Niger's elected president, the political crisis hasn't been resolved.

The Coup leader and head of the ruling National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) addressed the nation on Saturday (Aug. 19) and warned regional countries of any military intervention.

On Friday (Aug. 18), the ECOWAS commissioner for peace and security, Abdel-Fatau Musah, said 11 of its 15 member states had agreed to commit troops to military intervention, saying they were "ready to go." 

"Neither the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland nor the people of Niger want war and remain open to dialogue. But let us be clear: if an attack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think."

Tiani's warning came after his first meeting with an ECOWAS delegation.

Promising the putschists ambition was not to confiscate power, the general announced a period of national dialogue to lay the foundations of "a new constitutional life."

"Within this framework, the stakeholders who will be invited (to a consultation to lay the foundations of the transition, ed), will set about formulating concrete proposals within 30 days, leading to :

1: define the fundamental principles that should govern our transition.

2: define the priority of the transition, which should last no longer than a few months," Thiani said.

In his 12-minute speech, Tiani denounced what he called the "illegal" and "inhuman" sanctions levied by ECOWAS against Niger since the military seized power.

Transition plans presented Saturday night (Aug. 19) by the general go against ECOWAS demands to 'restore president Bazoum to his functions'.

West African leaders have not excluded a resort to force to achieve this goal.

The 11 member states that agreed to intervene militarily don’t include the bloc’s three other countries under military rule following coups: Guinea, Mali and Burkina Faso. The latter two have warned they would consider any intervention in Niger an act of war.

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