ECOWAS Issues Ultimatum to Niger Coup Leaders for President’s Restoration

NAIROBI — The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has issued a stern ultimatum to the leaders of the coup in Niger, demanding the prompt restoration of the country’s democratically elected president. If the demand is not met within one week, ECOWAS warns of potential military intervention. The coup, carried out by members of the presidential guard, ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, leading to regional concerns about the available options and their consequences.

In an emergency meeting held on Sunday and presided over by Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, ECOWAS member states demanded the immediate release and reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum. The group emphasizes that all possible measures, including the use of force, are being considered to reinstate constitutional order in Niger.

While the streets of Niamey appeared calm with normal traffic, President Mohamed Bazoum remained in custody under the control of the coup leaders, as reported by a close source.

Furthermore, the United States has joined ECOWAS and other international entities in condemning the apparent coup attempt in Niger. ECOWAS has taken additional measures by imposing sanctions, including the suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between Niger and other ECOWAS member states.

However, some experts are skeptical about the effectiveness of sanctions, particularly for a country as economically challenged as Niger. Michael Shurkin, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and director of global programs at 14 North Strategies, an Africa-focused business advisory group, applauds ECOWAS’ determination but raises concerns about potential negative outcomes resulting from a regional military intervention. He cites the experience with previous sanctions against Mali, which proved to be ineffective and even counterproductive, empowering an illegitimate regime and adversely affecting vulnerable populations.

As tensions escalate, President Bazoum’s supporters have held protests in Niamey demanding his release, while pro-coup residents attacked the French embassy during their own demonstration.

The situation remains delicate, and the international community is closely monitoring developments in Niger as ECOWAS’ ultimatum deadline approaches.

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