AU suspends Niger in crackdown over coup


The African Union has placed Niger under suspension subsequent to the seizure of power by a military junta on July 26th. In a long-awaited declaration, the African Union (AU), an alliance of 55 member nations, announced its verdict to “suspend without delay the involvement of the Republic of Niger in all AU activities, as well as its organs and institutions, until the full reinstatement of lawful governance in the nation.”

This decision was reached during a meeting held on August 14th by the AU’s Peace and Security Council, addressing the military coup in Niger. The AU appealed to both its member states and the global community to “reject this unconstitutional alteration of authority and abstain from actions that might confer legitimacy on the illicit regime in Niger.”

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Furthermore, the AU’s Peace and Security Council instructed an evaluation of the resolution by the West African regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which had arranged a standby force for potential deployment to Niger. The council will scrutinize the evaluation of the “financial, social, and safety consequences of deploying a standby force in Niger,” as stated.

Initially, ECOWAS leaders had given the junta a seven-day ultimatum to restore order or face repercussions, which could involve military intervention. Despite these initial intentions, numerous attempts at dialogue and diplomacy were undertaken by ECOWAS and its allies, such as the United States and the European Union. However, a senior ECOWAS representative confirmed that the bloc is now ready to proceed with military action in Niger and has designated a specific “D-Day” for this purpose.

Abdel-Fatau Musah, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace & Security of ECOWAS, declared at a press conference in Ghana that ECOWAS is unwilling to engage in prolonged discussions with the junta and that military forces are fully prepared to execute intervention once the command is given.

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The African Union expressed its “unity” with ECOWAS’s endeavors to restore lawful governance in Niger “through diplomatic channels,” according to its official statement. In this communiqué, the African Union urged the military junta to prioritize “the highest interests of Niger and its citizens above all else” and to promptly and unconditionally return to military facilities, complying with civilian authorities in accordance with Niger’s Constitution.

The decision to suspend Niger from the African Union comes shortly after the junta proposed a transition to democratic rule within a span of three years.

Niger’s military ruler General Abdourahamane Tchiani, who ousted President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power in a coup, said during a televised address on Saturday evening that neither the junta “nor the people of Niger want war and remain open to dialogue.”

He said the principles of the transition would be decided within the next 30 days as part of a national dialogue hosted by the junta and the transition itself “should last no longer than three years.”

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