The regional bloc ECOWAS had set a deadline for the release and restoration of Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum which was supposed to expire on Sunday. The deadline is being met by the coup leaders, according to Euronews.
If the junta, which grabbed power on 26 July, does not comply, it may face a foreign military intervention, the ECOWAS deadline stated.
Its leaders claimed that they ousted the president to fight jihadist insurgents and stop corruption.
On Sunday, some 30,000 supporters of the coup gathered at a stadium in the capital, Niamey, for a rally attended by junta leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, Euronews reported.
Euronews is Europe’s international news channel, providing global, multilingual news with a European perspective.
The new military leaders say they will not cave in to external pressure to stand down and have reportedly sought the assistance of the Russian mercenary group, Wagner, Euronews reported.
Two neighbouring countries, Mali and Burkina-Faso, which have both been subject to recent coups, strongly opposed ECOWAS moves and have promised military support for Niger in case of foreign intervention.
However, while some citizens are cheering the coup leaders, others fear what might happen next. In Niamey, people say they hope that talks will take place to avoid any further conflict, Euronews reported.
Economic sanctions imposed by several countries since the coup are making life tougher for citizens, with the price of basic staples such as rice and vegetables increasing sharply.
“We want peace, no aggression by foreign countries against another country. Just to be able to afford to eat is a problem for us. So, if there is a war that won’t fix anything,” Niamey resident, Mohamed Noali told Euronews.
ECOWAS, which agreed to the military action last week, has not said what its next steps would be, or exactly what time the deadline expires on Sunday.