Sanctions on the cards as West African leaders discuss Niger - GulfToday

Sanctions on the cards as West African leaders discuss Niger


Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum attends a meeting at the presidential palace in Niamey. File/AFP

West African leaders will meet Sunday in the Nigerian capital Abuja for an "extraordinary summit" on Niger, scene of the latest military coup to hit the Sahel region, with the possibility of sanctions on the cards.

The country's elected president Mohamed Bazoum has been held by the military for four days, and General Abdourahamane Tiani, the chief of the powerful presidential guard, has declared himself leader.

Former colonial ruler France and the European Union have suspended security cooperation and financial aid to Niger, and it remains to be seen whether the Economic Community of West African Nations (ECOWAS) will do the same.

"ECOWAS and the international community would do everything to defend democracy and ensure democratic governance continues to take firm root in the region," said Bola Tinubu, president of Nigeria and ECOWAS chairman, in a statement Friday.

The body has the power to impose sanctions on Niger, which is one of its 15 members.

Ahead of Sunday's gathering, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Tinubu to convey his "deep concern" over the situation in Niger, and "underscored his support for President Tinubu's continued efforts to restore constitutional order" there.

Niger's neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso have both undergone two military coups since 2020, fuelled by anger at a failure to quash long-running insurgencies by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda.

Tiani said the putsch was a response to "the degradation of the security situation" linked to jihadist bloodshed as well as corruption and economic woes.

Agence France-Presse

Related articles