Leaders of ECOWAS, the bloc of West African nations, has the junta of last week’s coup in Niger seven days to reinstate its deposed leader, Bazoum, who is being held captive in Niamey by the presidential guards’ unit.
In a statement following their meeting in Nigeria, the regional bloc said it would “take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order” if its demands were not met within a week. “Such measures may include the use of force”, the statement said, adding that military chiefs are to meet “immediately” to that effect.
Ecowas and the eight-member West African Economic and Monetary Union also announced the immediate enforcement of a no-fly zone over Niger, the closure of all land borders with the country, a halt to financial transactions and the freezing of national assets. Military officials involved in the coup would be banned from travelling and will have their assets frozen.
Ahead of the crisis talks, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani – who has declared himself Niger’s new leader – warned Ecowas and unnamed Western nations against stepping in.
“We once again reiterate to Ecowas or any other adventurer our firm determination to defend our fatherland,” he said in a statement read out on television late Saturday.
On Saturday, France announced it had suspended all development aid and budgetary support to Niger, following similar measures by both the EU and the US.