African Union Suspends Niger Over Military Coup

The African Union announced on Tuesday that it had suspended Niger until civilian governance is reinstated in the nation. Additionally, the AU will evaluate the potential consequences of any military intervention in the troubled Sahel country.

The Peace and Security Council has made a request for the AU Commission to conduct an assessment of the economic, social, and security ramifications associated with deploying a standby force in Niger and report its findings back to the Council. This decision comes after strong disagreements within the bloc regarding this matter.

Following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum by army officers on July 26, the West African regional organization ECOWAS threatened to use force to restore him to power. ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, has agreed to activate a “standby force” as a last resort to reestablish democracy in Niger. They have indicated their readiness to take action while still pursuing diplomatic solutions.

The AU convened a meeting on the crisis last week, revealing differing opinions within the bloc regarding potential military intervention. This coup has raised international concerns about the Sahel region, which is experiencing increasing jihadist insurgencies associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Notably, Niger is the fourth West African nation since 2020 to experience a coup, following Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali. The juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali have declared that any military intervention in Niger would be seen as a “declaration of war” against their respective countries. This coup marks the fifth in Niger’s history since gaining independence from France in 1960.

President Mohamed Bazoum’s election in 2021 was a significant milestone, marking the country’s first peaceful transition of power. He and his family have been held at the president’s official residence since the coup, raising growing international concerns about their conditions of detention.


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