African Union gives 15-day ultimatum to Niger junta to end regime but soldiers seek continuity

by Ryan Lee
Niger coup

The African Union (AU) has set a 15-day deadline for the military junta in Niger to restore the nation’s legitimate government. This development emerges in the wake of a meeting between the coup instigators and key government officials to determine the administrative future of the country. The potential for sanctions from the U.S. and the European Union against the new regime also looms.

Brig. Gen. Mohamed Toumba, among the military personnel who deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, revealed to national television that they had met with civil servants. The junta requested that administrative operations continue without disruptions after the constitution’s suspension. Toumba implied that the administration, under the leadership of Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani (also known as Omar), plans to retain control.

In light of recent discussions, the African Union Peace and Security Council voiced its concern over the worrying trend of coups destabilizing African democracies. The council has insisted that the military personnel should immediately and without conditions return to their barracks and reinstate the constitutional authority within 15 days.

The AU further demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Bazoum and his administration, whose current status remains unclear following the overthrow. Non-compliance would prompt the AU to adopt “necessary action,” including sanctions against those responsible.

Life in Niamey, Niger’s capital, seemed to return to some semblance of normalcy by Saturday, despite most international entities maintaining their lockdown. Hotels are packed with foreigners, most of whom have been advised not to venture out. The local populace is awaiting further developments, with a considerable number still endorsing Bazoum, who has yet to step down. “I’m with him, he does a good work. (But) what can we do?” remarked street vendor Mohamed Cisse, hinting at the inevitable change of power.

Gen. Tchiani, who headed Niger’s presidential guard and led the coup, has close ties with Mahamadou Issoufou, the former president of Niger. This connection, says Ulf Laessing, head of the Sahel program at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, lends credence to suspicions that Issoufou might have orchestrated the coup.

The United States threatened to cut its economic aid to Niger, while the European Union announced an indefinite suspension of budget support and security assistance. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that the continuity of America’s financial and security partnership with Niger, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is contingent on the maintenance of democratic governance and constitutional order. “So that assistance, that support, is in clear jeopardy as a result of these actions,” said Blinken.

Despite the increasing international pressure, the junta shows no signs of relenting. Experts are urging a coordinated response from international and continental organizations like the AU and the regional ECOWAS group, set to discuss the coup soon.

Idayat Hassan, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warns that a successful coup in Niger could escalate hardship for millions in West Africa and strain international relations with a region experiencing a surge in coups. He noted, “A non-reversal of the coup also means that we are defining a new world order in West Africa, with the west and other countries against a few military regimes potentially supported by Russia.”

This report was brought to you by Asadu in Abuja, Nigeria, with additional reporting by Baba Ahmed in Bamako, Mali.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Niger coup

What ultimatum has the African Union given to the junta in Niger?

The African Union has given a 15-day ultimatum to the junta in Niger to restore the democratically elected government and return to their barracks.

Who is currently leading the regime in Niger?

The regime in Niger is currently led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, also known as Omar, who was a commander of Niger’s presidential guard.

What are the international responses to the coup in Niger?

The United States and the European Union have threatened to impose sanctions on the regime in Niger. The U.S. has also suggested that its economic and security support to Niger could be halted.

What potential repercussions are there for West Africa if the coup in Niger is successful?

If the coup in Niger succeeds and sanctions follow, it could escalate hardship for millions in West Africa. Additionally, it could strain international relations with the region, which has experienced a resurgence of coups in recent years.

What does the junta in Niger ask of the civil servants after the coup?

The junta, under the leadership of Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, asked civil servants to continue their work as usual despite the suspension of the constitution, signaling an intent to maintain power.

More about Niger coup

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JackO'Trades July 31, 2023 - 3:53 am

This is crazy! I can’t believe another coup is going down in West Africa. smh…how much longer are they gonna suffer??

BlinkenFan July 31, 2023 - 6:52 am

Blinken’s doing the right thing, Niger’s democracy needs to be protected, and aid shudn’t go to a junta regime!

PeaceWarrior July 31, 2023 - 11:35 am

So sad to see democracy being threatened again, these military juntas need to step down and respect the people’s choice!

AfroOptimist July 31, 2023 - 12:09 pm

u know, as an African, it pains me to see the AU being disregarded like this…we need stronger unity and respect for rule of law across the continent!

Niger4life July 31, 2023 - 12:16 pm

Bazoum was doing a good job, why this coup? Who’s benefiting from this? Def not the ordinary people…

WorldWatcher July 31, 2023 - 3:37 pm

Watch Russia step in if West imposes sanctions, they’re always ready to stir the pot, lol.

SanctionQueen July 31, 2023 - 11:59 pm

Time for the intl community to step up! These junta guys need to feel the pinch where it hurts, in their pockets!


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