Niger: Thousands rally support for coup leaders as ECOWAS deadline draws closer

Thousands of supporters of the military junta in the Niger Republic on Sunday gathered at a stadium to show support for the regime.


The show of solidarity happened as the deadline set by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum draws closer.


In a video shared by LSI Africa, a huge crowd is seen cheering a delegation of members of the now-ruling National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), a newly formed military council, at the 30,000-capacity stadium.


Many of the supporters waved Nigerien flags while some held Russian flags at the stadium named after Seyni Kountche, who led Niger’s first coup d’etat in 1974.


Abdourahamane Tiani, leader of the presidential guard that overthrew Bazoum, had said the coup was necessary to rid the country of “bad governance and worsening security”.


General Mohamed Toumba, one of the CNSP leaders, spoke against those “lurking in the shadows” who were “plotting subversion” against “the forward march of Niger”.


“We are aware of their Machiavellian plan,” Toumba said.


ECOWAS had given the Nigerien coup leaders a week from last Sunday to meet its demands of restoring order or face harder sanctions, including the use of force.


Mali and Burkina Faso had also warned ECOWAS against any further interventions, adding that they would be forced to also adopt “self-defence measures” in support of the “brotherly” armed forces and the people of Niger.


Many stakeholders and countries have urged the West African bloc to explore other forms of mediation instead of force.


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