The African Union (AU) through its Peace and Security Council has announced the suspension of Niger over the current political situation in the West African country.
The AU resolved “…to immediately suspend the participation of the Republic of Niger from all activities of the AU and its Organs and institutions until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country,” according to its communique.
This is not the first time the AU will suspend a member state due to unconstitutional change of power. It had suspended Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso when soldiers took over in those countries. The move apparently did not deter other coup plotters on the continent.
The continental bloc had given putschists in Niger 15 days ultimatum to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
It also sought a meeting, alongside the UN and ECOWAS, with the junta leaders but was denied.
The AU “highly commends and supports the relentless efforts being deployed by ECOWAS towards peaceful restoration of constitutional order in the Republic of Niger; and requests the AU Commission to appoint and deploy High Representatives to foster the mediation efforts by the ECOWAS.”
However, the bloc requested the AU Commission to undertake an assessment of the economic, social and security implications of deploying a Standby Force in Niger and report back to Council.
ECOWAS at the last heads of state meeting ordered the activation and deployment of a standby force in Niger to restore constitutional rule if dialogue fails.
Defence chiefs of the subregional bloc met last week to finalise on a d-day to militarily intervene in Niger.
On Tuesday, the AU called on its Member States and the international community including bilateral and multilateral partners, to reject the Niger junta and refrain from any action likely to grant legitimacy to the regime.
It condemned the coup, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Bazoum and all other detainees, and respect of their human rights, including protection of their physical health and moral integrity.
“Requests the AU Commission in close cooperation with the ECOWAS Commission to urgently compile and submit the list of members of the military junta and their military and civilian supporters of the coup d’état in Niger, including those involved in the violation of fundamental human rights of President Bazoum and other detainees for targeted sanctions, and the application of individual punitive measures,” the communique recommended.
Commending the leadership of ECOWAS, it called on AU Member States to fully implement the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS and endorsed by the PSC.
The AU encouraged the junta in Niger to cooperate with the efforts being deployed by ECOWAS and the AU towards a peaceful and speedy restoration of constitutional order while appealing to Nigeriens to remain calm, refrain from any action that may inflame the situation, and to fully embrace a peaceful approach towards the restoration of constitutional order in the country.
The AU said it “strongly rejects any external interference by any actor or any country outside the Continent in the peace and security affairs in Africa including engagements by private military companies in the continent.”
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