Crucial Military Gathering on Niger Coup Suspended by West African Nations - The Top Society

Crucial Military Gathering on Niger Coup Suspended by West African Nations

I’m not allowed to receive my family members (or) my friends who have been bringing food and other supplies to us - Bazoum


West African countries on Friday decided to postpone a crucial military gathering regarding the Niger crisis.


This decision came just one day after they had announced their intention to assemble a “standby” force in an effort to restore the ousted leader of the country.


Concerns grew over the well-being of President Mohamed Bazoum, who was removed from power by his own guard on July 26, amid reports indicating a decline in his detention conditions.


Originally, chiefs of staff from West African ECOWAS member nations were scheduled to participate in a meeting in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Saturday. This meeting aimed to discuss activating and deploying a standby force while informing the organization’s leaders about the most suitable courses of action.


However, later updates revealed that the meeting had been indefinitely postponed due to “technical reasons,” as conveyed by regional military sources on Friday.


ECOWAS has not yet disclosed specifics about the force or a plan of action, and the leaders have reiterated their desire for a peaceful resolution.


The abrupt cancellation occurred as numerous coup supporters gathered near a French military base in Niger on Friday.


Demonstrators near the base, situated on the outskirts of the capital Niamey, chanted slogans such as “down with France, down with ECOWAS.”


The newly established authorities in Niger have leveled accusations against France, their former colonial ruler and a strong ally of Bazoum, asserting that France is influencing ECOWAS’ firm position against the coup.


A significant number of people waved Russian and Niger flags while vocally expressing their backing for the newly established leader of the country, General Abdourahamane Tiani.


One of the demonstrators, Aziz Rabeh Ali, a member of a students’ union said; “We are going to make the French leave! ECOWAS isn’t independent, it’s being manipulated by France.”


As part of a contingent engaged in combating an eight-year-long jihadist insurgency, France maintains approximately 1,500 personnel within Niger.


France is encountering increasing animosity within the Sahel region, having withdrawn its anti-jihadist forces from Mali and Burkina Faso, neighboring countries, the previous year due to conflicts with military regimes that had unseated democratically elected leaders.


Last week, the recently established authorities in Niger nullified defense pacts with France. Additionally, a confrontational demonstration near the French embassy in Niamey on July 30 led Paris to undertake the evacuation of its citizens.


On Friday, the European Union and African Union (AU), along with various other parties, echoed concerns for Bazoum.


“Bazoum and his family, according to the latest information, have been deprived of food, electricity and medical care for several days,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.


Volker Turk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed that the conditions under which Bazoum is reportedly detained may potentially constitute actions that are inhumane and degrading, thus contravening international human rights regulations.


The African Union (AU) condemned the treatment of a democratically elected president as “unacceptable.”


German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock issued a stern warning, stating that severe consequences should befall the coup plotters if any harm comes to Bazoum or his family.


A source with close ties to Bazoum revealed that he is currently in acceptable health, but the conditions he is enduring are extremely challenging.


The coup leaders had previously issued threats of physical harm should any military intervention take place, according to the same source.


Human Rights Watch reported that they had conversed with Bazoum earlier this week. The 63-year-old leader characterized the treatment of himself, his wife, and their 20-year-old son as “inhuman and cruel,” as stated by HRW.


“I’m not allowed to receive my family members (or) my friends who have been bringing food and other supplies to us,” the group quoted him as saying.


“My son is sick, has a serious heart condition, and needs to see a doctor,” he was quoted as saying. “They’ve refused to let him get medical treatment.”


Facing the need to halt a series of coups within its member states, ECOWAS had earlier issued a seven-day ultimatum to the leaders of the coup, demanding the reinstatement of Bazoum to his position.


However, the coup leaders disregarded the ultimatum, which came to an end on Sunday without any measures being enacted.


In the aftermath, the coup organizers proceeded to establish a fresh government, which convened for its inaugural session on Friday.

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