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Niger Military Junta Refuses US Envoy Access To Ousted President Bazoum



The leaders of the military junta in Niger Republic have stopped a senior US official, Victoria Nuland from meeting the country’s elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

Recall that on 26 July 2023, a coup d’état occurred in Niger when the country’s presidential guard detained Bazoum, and presidential guard commander General Abdourahamane Tchiani proclaimed himself the leader of a new military junta.

Presidential guard forces closed the country’s borders, suspended state institutions, and declared a curfew.

Nuland, who is the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States said she met with the Nigerien military authorities on Monday, August 7, and that Bazoum is under “virtual house arrest”.

She also described the mutinous officers as unreceptive and unwilling to heed US calls to return the country to civilian rule.

They were quite firm about how they want to proceed, and it is not in support of the constitution of Niger,” Nuland told reporters.

She characterised the conversations as “extremely frank and at times quite difficult.”

She spoke after a two-hour meeting in Niger´s capital, Niamey, with some leaders of the military takeover of a country that has been a vital counterterrorism partner of France and the US.

The meeting was with Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, a U.S.-trained officer, and three of the colonels involved in the takeover.

The coup´s top leader, former presidential guard head Abdourahamane Tchiani, did not meet with the Americans.

In speaking to junta leaders, Nuland said, she made “absolutely clear the kinds of support that we will legally have to cut off if democracy is not restored.”

If the U.S. determines that a democratically elected government has been toppled by unconstitutional means, federal law requires a cutoff of most American assistance, particularly military aid.

She said she also stressed U.S. concern for the welfare of President Bazoum, who she said was being detained with his wife and son.

This coup d’état is the fifth since the country gained independence from France in 1960, and the first since 2010. The coup has been widely condemned by the international community and by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is currently considering military intervention in the country.

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