EXCLUSIVE: Abdulsalami, Other ECOWAS Delegation Members Leave Niger Without Meeting Coup Leader Or Deposed President
A team from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS left the Republic of Niger without meeting the leader of the junta which seized power in a coup or the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.
According to a delegation member on Friday, the team led by former Nigerian military ruler, Abdulsalami Abubakar could not spend the night in Niger as scheduled.
The ECOWAS delegation arrived in the capital Niamey on Thursday “but did not spend the night” as scheduled, nor meet with coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani or deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, the team member said.
The delegation was initially due to meet Tiani to present ECOWAS’s demands, according to the Nigerian Presidency, Alarabiya News reports.
Regional powerhouse Nigeria holds the rotating presidency of ECOWAS, which imposed sanctions and on Sunday gave the putschists a week to restore Bazoum to power.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu however said the bloc would do its best to resolve the crisis amicably but ECOWAS said it could resort to military intervention as a last resort.
In a statement by one of the putschist read on National television late Thursday Niger’s junta warned it would meet force with force.
The statement reads: “Any aggression or attempted aggression against the State of Niger will see an immediate and unannounced response from the Niger Defense and Security Forces on one of (the bloc’s) members.”