African Union expels Niger until it reinstates ousted pro-West president
The African Union has suspended the membership of Niger until the new military government reinstates pro-Western President Mohamed Bazoum who was toppled on July 26.
The 55-nation African Union bloc said in a statement on Tuesday it has suspended Niger from all of its institutions and activities “until the effective restoration of constitutional order.”
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council called on the bloc to assess the economic, social, and security implications of deploying such force in Niger and report back to the Council.
The African Union also reiterated calls for the new military leaders to immediately release ousted President Bazoum, and return to their barracks.
The generals who toppled President Bazoum have so far resisted pressure to step down and proposed a three-year timeline to organize elections, a plan which the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) rejected on Monday.
ECOWAS has threatened Niger with military action if it does not reinstate the ousted president.
The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) group in Nigeria has warned against any ECOWAS military intervention, saying it would "practically exacerbate the crisis and inflict further suffering on the innocent people in the Niger Republic and the wider region."
Mali and Burkina Faso have said an intervention would be tantamount to a declaration of war on them.
Last week, thousands of anti-West protesters took to the streets recently to protest against plans by West African nations to deploy a military force to the country.
The protesters surrounded a French military base in Niger, protesting against years of military intervention by the European country in the West African nation.
Protesters rallied near the army base on the outskirts of the capital Niamey on August 11, shouting, "Down with France, down with ECOWAS.”
The Niger Army has accused the African nation's former colonizer France of being the force behind ECOWAS' determination to restore Bazoum to office to serve the West's interests.
France was a colonial power in West Africa until 1960. Since independence, the European country has maintained trade relations and a military presence in the region.