By Gift Habib
The Economic Community of West African States has warned the Niger junta to release President Mohamed Bazoum who has been held in his residence since he was ousted by the military on July 26.
ECOWAS Commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah told Reuters on Monday that the bloc’s position remained clear.
“Release Bazoum without preconditions, restore constitutional order without further delay,” he said, referring to Niger’s ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum. He spoke via WhatsApp in response to a query about the delay of the proposed elections.
The outcome of “ongoing informal discussions” would determine whether ECOWAS would send another mediation mission to Niger, he added.
The bloc’s reputation has been at stake since the recent string of coups eroded democracy in the region, raising doubts over its sway as junta leaders have clung to power.
An ECOWAS delegation, the second time arrived Niger Republic on August 19 for a final diplomatic push before deciding on military intervention against the junta.
However, the head of the military junta in Niger, General Abdourahamane Tiani, said he would relinquish power within three years and warned that any intervention by foreign forces would not be a walk in the park.