AU Plans Sanctions Against Supporters Of Niger Junta

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The African Union (AU) has taken steps to impose targeted penalties and “application of individual punitive measures” against those aligned with the military junta in Niger. In response to the situation, the AU instructed its commission to draft a register of junta members and their supporters in Niger for the purpose of applying sanctions. This measure supplements existing sanctions already put forth by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders, an approach which the AU has also endorsed.

The AU has also demanded an evaluation of the consequences stemming from the ECOWAS standby force. This comes after the economic coalition threatened to adopt a military stance should the coup leaders fail to reinstate democratic governance and return ousted President Mohamed Bazoum to power.

It is important to note that the ECOWAS had rejected the new military government’s three-year proposal aimed at restoring democracy in the Sahel nation.

On the same day, the former military Head of State of Nigeria and head of the ECOWAS delegation in Niger, Retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, officially presented the settlement terms for the political crisis to President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

In a separate development, suspected armed Islamists killed a dozen soldiers in a remote area of South-West Niger, as reported by state television.

AThe AU issued a communique detailing its resolutions, which were formulated during a council meeting on August 14. The organization suspended Niger’s participation in its activities following the coup and cautioned its members against actions that could validate the junta’s authority.

The coup last month has raised concerns among democratic African states and Western allies. They fear that the coup could lead to an expansion of Islamist groups operating in the Sahel region and provide Russia with an opportunity to enhance its influence. Although that ‘fear’ is rather unclear as there is the question of the relationship between military take over and expansion of Islamists or the multiplication of Russia’s influence.

Nigeria, for example, is a democratic state, yet the rate of increased insecurity caused by Islamists is high.

While ECOWAS has been engaged in diplomatic negotiations with the junta, it has also expressed its willingness to deploy troops to Niger to restore constitutional order if diplomatic efforts falter.

However, there is a rare positive development; ECOWAS mediator Abdulsalami Abubakar stated that his recent visit to Niger was “very productive.” He expressed optimism about achieving a peaceful resolution and underlined the shared desire to avoid war.

The AU Peace and Security Council, as per the communique, acknowledged ECOWAS’ decision to activate a standby force and tasked the AU Commission with evaluating the potential economic, social, and security consequences of deploying such a force.

The AU re-emphasized the need for the junta leaders to immediately release the detained elected President Mohamed Bazoum and return to their military barracks.

In contrast, the ECOWAS Parliament opposes military intervention and prefers a diplomatic solution; according to Senator Ali Ndume, Nigeria’s representative. He expressed concerns about the serious ramifications of a military intervention in Niger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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