The African Union has announced the immediate suspension of Niger from all of its institutions and activities “until the effective restoration of constitutional order” following last month’s coup.
The Executive Council of the continental bloc disclosed this after the military junta overthrew Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.
It condemned the coup, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Bazoum and all other detainees, and respect of their human rights.
“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.
The announcement of the suspension was the council’s first public communication since it met earlier this month to discuss Niger’s crisis.
The executive council which is made up of foreign ministers further charged the African Union’s other member nations and the international community to reject the “unconstitutional change of government and to refrain from any action likely to grant legitimacy to the illegal regime in Niger.
Also, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council ordered the regional ECOWAS bloc and the African Union Commission, which is situated in Ethiopia’s capital and administers the bloc’s day-to-day operations, to provide a list of the military junta’s members in order to impose targeted sanctions.
Peace talks with the junta have achieved little so far, while the coup plotters are pressing ahead with their plans to return the country to constitutional civilian control within three years.
The junta announced last week that it intends to charge the former president with “high treason” and endangering state security, both of which are punishable by death.
The AU, ECOWAS, US and others have condemned the move and called for quick restoration of civilian administration.