African Union Acts: Niger Suspended


The African Union (AU) announced that it has suspended Niger until civilian rule is restored in the west African country.  

The announcement was made on August 22 as the AU continues convened to discuss military intervention which could further inflame tensions in the already turmoil-stricken Sahel region, according to the AFP, August 22. 

A junta deposed Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, which prompted the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to set out a plan to intervene militarily in the west African nation earlier this month.

READ: ECOWAS defence chiefs hold meeting on Niger coup response

Niger has seen a flurry of coups (five) or attempted coups since its independence from France in 1960 and has also been battling against violent insurgencies with links to prominent terrorist groups, Al Qaeda and ISIS. 

The west African region more generally has been struck by a high amount of coups since 2020. Before last month’s shocking scenes in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea all suffered coups. 

These three west African nations have warned against military intervention in Niger saying it could lead to a declaration of war against Niger and by-proxy, their nations also. 

Mali has also been struck by violent insurgencies as internationally, many are concerned by the rise in insurgencies in Sahel. 

Since Niger’s coup, Bazoum has been on house arrest alongside his family in the President’s official residence as the international community is becoming more alarmed at the situation. 

The junta is prosecuting the Nigerien President for high treason over his exchanges with foreign heads of state and international organisations, a move that was dismissed by the United Nations’ Human Rights Commissioner. 

READ: UN chief blasts Niger President treason case – “no legal basis”

The commissioner, Volker Turk criticised the trial noting that it had “no legal basis” and that it was simply a politically motivated trial as well as being undemocratic. 

Although ECOWAS has considered a diplomatic solution to the crisis, it is seemingly heading towards a situation where they will act militarily. 




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