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ECOWAS threatens force, gives 7-day ultimatum for return to democracy in Niger

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced a one-week ultimatum for coup plotters in Niger to hand over power to the democratically elected government.

The decision was made following an extraordinary session of the ECOWAS member states on Sunday, presided over by President Bola Tinubu, its chairman, in Abuja.

At the meeting, a resolution was reached to impose several sanctions on Niger over the military coup.

TheCable reported how Amadou Abdramane, a colonel-major, announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum from office in a late-night address on Wednesday.

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Abdramane dissolved the country’s constitution, suspended all institutions and closed the borders.

Reading the communique, Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS commission, said the authority affirmed its recognition of Bazoum as the legitimate president of Niger and only his official acts or that of his duly mandated officials will be recognised.

The authority also condemned the detention of Bazoum, calling for his immediate release and reinstatement.

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ECOWAS said in the event that the demand is not met within one week, all measures necessary to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger, including the use of force, will be taken.

Touray said in the meantime, ECOWAS has resolved to close all land and air borders between member countries and Niger.

It also resolved to institute an ECOWAS ‘no fly zone’ on all commercial flights to and from Niger.

Other resolutions include the “suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger”.

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All service transactions will be frozen including energy transactions and deals with all financial institutions.

In addition, a travel ban will be imposed and an asset freeze for the military officials involved in the coup.

The same sanctions apply to the family members of the military officials and the civilians who accept to participate in any institution or government established by the military officials.

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