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EU Rejects Niger Coup Authorities, Cuts Aid

It also suspended all security cooperation with the country with immediate effect.

The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said they were ready to support future decisions, including the “adoption of sanctions” taken by West Africa’s main regional bloc ECOWAS, in support of Niger’s democratic leaders.

Niger saw a coup earlier this week, with General Abdourahamane Tchiani declaring himself the leader on Friday after removing the democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

Bazoum “remains the only legitimate president of Niger,” the European Union said in its statement.

What is the latest?

Bazoum, who was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power since its independence from France in 1960, is currently held by members of his presidential guard at the presidential palace.

Bazoum is seen as a key ally of Western efforts to battle Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region, and Niger is a major recipient of foreign aid.

In a communique, the African Union asked Niger’s army to “return to their barracks and restore constitutional authority” within 15 days.

The body, which consists of 55 member states that make up the countries on the continent, said it “condemns the strongest terms possible” the presidential coup. It also expressed concern over the “alarming resurgence” of military coups in Africa.

The European Union allocated €503 million ($554 million) to improve governance, education and sustainable growth in Niger between 2021 and 2024, according to information on the website.

Plus, French President Emmanuel Macron is set to preside over a defense and national security council meeting in Paris later Saturday afternoon to discuss developments in Niger, the presidential palace said Friday.

Wagner chief Prigozhin praises coup, offers support

France has 1,500 soldiers in the West African country who conduct joint operations with Nigerien troops in their fight against jihadist insurgents.

Niamey’s importance has increased since coups in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso led to the exit of Western forces and the entry of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group in recent years.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group who led a short-lived armed rebellion against the Russian military last month, hailed the coup as good news and offered his fighters’ service to bring order.

Source : DW

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