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Niger Suspended by African Union following recent Coup

Niger has been suspended by the African Union from the continental bloc with immediate effect following a recent coup.

The decision was made during a meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This comes after several Western countries decided to cut aid to Niger in response to the coup that took place on July 26, which overthrew President Bazoum. Since the coup, Bazoum has been under house arrest, and the country has faced multiple sanctions from regional and international bodies.

Niger Suspended by African Union following recent Coup
Supporters of Niger’s National Concil of Sefeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) hold Niger (R) and a Russian (L) flags as they gather at Place de la Concertation in Niamey on August 20, 2023. (Photo by – / AFP)

One such body is the Economic Community of West African States, which has also imposed sanctions on Niger. Last week, ECOWAS agreed on a “D-day” to begin a military intervention through an already activated regional strike force. However, the use of force is considered a last resort after diplomatic channels have been exhausted. In line with this, ECOWAS rejected a proposal by Niger’s military government to hold elections within three years.

Meanwhile, the African Union is reviewing ECOWAS’s plan of action and has called on all member states and the international community to refrain from taking any action to legitimize Niger’s military government. The AU emphasizes its opposition to any external interference in the affairs of the continent, including by private military companies.

The suspension of Niger by the African Union is a significant development in the ongoing political crisis in the country. It marks a further shift in the international community’s response to the coup and highlights the serious consequences that the military government could face if it does not take steps towards a return to constitutional order.

The AU’s decision to suspend Niger reflects its commitment to upholding democratic principles and the rule of law on the continent.

By taking this action, the AU sends a clear message to Niger’s military government and other potential coup plotters that their actions will not be tolerated.

Niger Suspended by African Union following recent Coup
African heads of state attend an African Union (AU) assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday, February 5, 2022 (File: AP Photo]

The suspension by the AU also has practical implications for Niger. As a member of the African Union, Niger will be excluded from participating in the Union’s decision-making processes, including summits and meetings.

This isolation could further weaken the military government’s legitimacy and hinder its ability to navigate the political and economic challenges facing the country.

Furthermore, the suspension will likely have economic consequences for Niger. The country relies on foreign aid and investment, and the suspension by the AU, coupled with the cutting of aid by Western countries, will compound the economic hardship already faced by the population.

The suspension could also deter other countries and international organizations from engaging with Niger, exacerbating its isolation and hindering its path to stability.

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