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Niger Junta threatens to kill Bazoum over planned military intervention

Niger’s junta has threatened to kill ousted President Mohamed Bazoum if neighbouring countries attempt any military intervention to reinstate him.

The junta revealed their dark plot to murder the deposed president to a top United States diplomat, two Western officials confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday.

The threat is coming on the heels of the resolution of the ECOWAS to deploy troops in Niger following the refusal of the military leaders to restore democracy despite the sanctions imposed on them and their collaborators by the regional body.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, a Western military official said representatives of the junta told the US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country on Monday.

According to AP, a US official confirmed the account, also speaking on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

This came shortly before the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it had directed the deployment of a “standby force” to restore democracy in Niger, after its deadline of Sunday to restore Bazoum’s government expired.

The threat to the deposed president raises the stakes both for ECOWAS and for the junta, which has shown its willingness to escalate its actions since it seized power on July 26.

Niger was seen as the last country in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert that Western nations could partner with to counter jihadi violence linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

The international community is scrambling to find a peaceful solution to the country’s leadership crisis.

However, rising from a meeting of the ECOWAS Heads of States and Government in Abuja on Thursday, the President of ECOWAS, Omar Touray, said the bloc had directed the deployment of a “standby force” to restore democracy in Niger after the coup.

But Touray gave no details about the make-up, location and proposed date of deployment for the military intervention force.

Financing had been discussed and “appropriate measures have been taken,” he disclosed.

Reading the resolutions of the ECOWAS on the military junta in Niger at the end of the commission’s extra-ordinary summit, he also called on the African Union, partner countries and institutions to support the decision taken by the sub-regional body.

ECOWAS said all efforts made to hold dialogues with the military junta had been defiantly rejected by the coup leaders as they condemned the continuous detention of Bazoum and his family members.

Before taking the decision, the authority explained that it considered the memorandum presented by the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the current situation in the Republic of Niger, ECOWAS engagement since the last extraordinary summit; the reports of the envoys sent to Niger and various other places and recommendations of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff.

It also extensively discussed the latest development in Niger since the last extra-ordinary summit was held on July 30, noting that all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS in resolving the crisis had been defiantly repelled by the military leadership, including the one-week ultimatum given for the restoration of constitutional order in Niger.

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Comfort Samuel

I work with TV360 Nigeria, as a broadcast journalist, producer and reporter. I'm so passionate on what I do.

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