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Politics Monitor

AU Backs ECOWAS: Pressure Mounts On Niger Junta

The African Union lined up Friday behind the decisions of ECOWAS concerning Niger and called on the international community to save the life of President Mohamed Bazoum, whose conditions of detention are deteriorating.

In a press release, the AU called on the putschist soldiers to put an end to the escalation in its showdown with the West African bloc.

ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) said Thursday that all options were on the table to restore constitutional order after the July 26 coup in Niamey and decided to activate its force intervention.

ECOWAS, meeting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, however indicated that it favored a peaceful resolution of the crisis. She did not provide any details on the extent of this force or on the identity of the countries that would participate in this possible intervention.

The Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, described the detention of President Bazoum as a “terrorist act” in front of journalists and promised to send troops to fill the ranks of the force deployed by ECOWAS.

An Ivorian army spokesman said a battalion could include 850 soldiers. The other countries have not declared their participation in this force.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated Thursday evening in a statement that France affirmed its full support for all the conclusions adopted at the Abuja summit.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who also reaffirmed Washington’s support for ECOWAS efforts to restore constitutional order, said the United States held the Nigerien junta responsible for the state of health of Mohamed Bazoum and his family.

The spokesman for European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, considered that nothing justified the treatment inflicted on the Nigerien head of state.

Mohamed Bazoum has been held in the presidential residence since the coup and told Human Rights Watch of the “inhuman and cruel” conditions of detention.

The organization was able to meet on Wednesday and Thursday with the ousted president and members of his entourage.

“I have not had access to electricity since August 2 and no human contact since August 4. I am not allowed to receive family members (or) friends who, so far, have brought food and other supplies,” President Bazoum told HRW.

“My son is sick, he has serious heart problems and needs to see a doctor… They refused to allow him to receive medical treatment,” he added.

This article is originally published on challenges.fr

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