Heightened tension in Niger as a deadline for coup leaders to restore democracy expires

Rally in Niamey in support of the coup
Rally in Niamey in support of the coup Copyright SOULEYMANE AG ANARA/AFP or licensors
By Euronews with agencies
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Niger's new military leaders have said they will not cave in to external pressure to stand down.

Niger’s coup leaders are facing a Sunday deadline set by the regional bloc ECOWAS to release and reinstate the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum was set to expire.


If the junta, which grabbed power on 26 July, does not comply, it may face a foreign military intervention.

Its leaders claim they ousted the president to help them better fight jihadist insurgents and stop corruption.

Many seem willing to believe this explanation and are angry at the threat of force being wielded by neighbouring countries.

On Sunday, some 30,000 supporters of the coup gathered at a stadium in the capital, Niamey, for a rally attended by junta leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani.

The new military leaders say they will not cave in to external pressure to stand down and have reportedly asked Russian mercenary group, Wagner to assist.

Two neighbouring countries, Mali and Burkina-Faso, who have both been subject to recent coups, strongly opposed ECOWAS moves and have promised military support for Niger in case of foreign intervention.

But while some citizens are cheering the coup leaders, others fear what might happen next. In Niamey, people say they hope that talks will take place to avoid any further conflict.

Economic sanctions imposed by several countries since the coup are making life tougher for citizens, with the price of basic staples such as rice and vegetables increasingly sharply.

“We want peace, no aggression by foreign countries against another country. Just to be able to afford to eat is a problem for us. So, if there is a war that won’t fix anything, says Niamey resident, Mohamed Noali.

ECOWAS, which agreed to the military action last week, has not said what its next steps would be, or exactly what time the deadline expires on Sunday.

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