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African Union Gives 15-Day Ultimatum to Niger Junta to End Regime but Soldiers Seek Continuity

A woman prepares food in Niamey, Niger, Saturday, July 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)
A woman prepares food in Niamey, Niger, Saturday, July 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Sam Mednick)

The African Union has issued a 15-day ultimatum to the junta in Niger to reinstall the country’s democratically elected government just as the coup leaders met with senior civil servants to discuss how they would run the country and as the U.S. and the European Union threatened sanctions against the regime.

Brig. Gen. Mohamed Toumba, one of the soldiers who ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday, told state television that the junta met with civil servants on Friday and asked them to continue their work as usual following the suspension of the constitution. “The message given was not to stop the processes underway, to keep on with things,” said Brig. Gen. Toumba.

“Everything that must be done will be done,” he said, signaling the intention of the regime led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, who also goes by Omar, to remain in power.

After its meeting on Friday, the African Union Peace and Security Council said it was concerned by the “alarming resurgence” of coups that undermine democracy and stability on the continent. It asked the soldiers to “return immediately and unconditionally to their barracks and restore constitutional authority, within a maximum of fifteen (15) days.”

Bazoum, whose condition and that of his officials remains unknown since the government was overthrown, should also be released immediately and unconditionally, the AU said. Failure to do so would compel the bloc to take “necessary action, including punitive measures against the perpetrators.”

Related Story: Niger Soldiers Announce Removal of President on National Television

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