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Niger holds a pro-coup demonstration after the leader cautions against foreign interference

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In favor of the military coup that took place last month and whose leader has warned against outside meddling while proposing a three-year transition of power, several thousand people demonstrated in the city of Niger on Sunday.

The protesters screamed anti-French and anti-ECOWAS chants. If negotiations with the coup leaders fall through, ECOWAS is preparing a possible military intervention to restore president Mohamed Bazoum.

Although the Sahel state’s new military rulers have officially outlawed protests, in reality those in favor of the coup are allowed.

The protesters held up signs reading “Stop the military intervention” and “No to sanctions,” which were in response to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)’s reductions in financial aid and trade restrictions since the July 26

The most recent of several pro-coup demonstrations took place the day after General Abdourahamane Tiani, the new ruler of Niamey, warned that an invasion of Niger by foreign troops would not be a “walk in the park.”

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Tiani also stated that he did not intend to “confiscate” authority in a late-Saturday televised speech, and he pledged to restore civilian government within three years.

The anti-coup attitude taken by ECOWAS, which on Saturday renewed its effort for a diplomatic resolution by sending a mission to Niamey led by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, has been blamed by Niger’s new leaders on France, a close supporter of Bazoum.

In contrast to a prior expedition in early August, this time the delegation spoke with Tiani and also met Bazoum, who is being detained at the presidential palace with his family and may be charged with treason.

Bazoum was seen grinning and shaking hands with the delegation in images shown on Niger television.

In televised remarks, Abubakar declared that there was still hope and that the visit had yielded “a key for pursuing talks until an outcome for this difficult situation.”

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The delegation’s arrival in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, was confirmed by an ECOWAS source on Sunday.

Tiani claimed in his televised speech on Saturday that ECOWAS was “getting ready to attack Niger by setting up an occupying army in collaboration with a foreign army,” but he did not specify which nation he was referring to.

He continued, nevertheless, “If an attack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think.”

In addition, Tiani promised a 30-day “national dialogue” period during which “concrete proposals” would be developed to build the groundwork for “a new constitutional life.”

Following Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali as the other three West African countries to undergo a coup since 2020, ECOWAS leaders claim they must now take action.

As a last measure, the bloc has agreed to dispatch a “standby force” to Niger in order to reestablish democracy.

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Growing jihadist insurgencies affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization are causing problems in the Sahel region.

Frustration with the bloodshed has been used as a justification for the military coups.

In response to a political crisis in Niger and its possible effects on regional stability, Pope Francis called for a diplomatic solution on Sunday.

Francis addressed the crowd at St. Peter’s Square in Rome following the Angelus prayer, saying, “I join with prayer the efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution as soon as possible for the good of everyone.”

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Tell the stories as they are as well as what is hidden in the stories in order to place the true cards on the table.

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