The African Union has suspended Niger from the continental bloc with immediate effect, the latest of a number of sanctions on the West African country since last month’s coup.
The decision, announced on Tuesday after a meeting of the AU’s Peace and Security Council in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, comes after several Western countries cut aid to Niger due to a July 26 coup that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum.
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Bazoum has been under house arrest since the takeover orchestrated by members of his presidential guard.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) also imposed sanctions and last week, agreed on a “D-day” to begin a military intervention through an already activated regional strike force.
ECOWAS said the use of force would be the “last resort” after exhausting diplomatic channels for negotiation. On Monday, it rejected a proposal by Niger’s military government to hold elections within three years.
However, the AU said it was reviewing ECOWAS’s plan of action and called on all member states and the international community to not undertake any action to legitimise Niger’s military government.
“We are studying the ECOWAS decision to prepare forces for deployment in Niger, and the African Commission will evaluate its repercussions,” the statement said. “We strongly reject any external interference by any party or country in the affairs of the continent, including private military companies.”