Connect with us


Niger: Military Option Open As Tinubu Orders More Sanctions Against Individuals, Entities




• Niger’s military junta appoints ex-Economy Minister as new PM
• Says it cannot receive ECOWAS delegation for security reasons
• Mali warns of catastrophe if ECOWAS intervenes in Niger
• No headway as U.S. envoy meets coup leaders, denied access to Bazoum
• Blinken: Wagner taking advantage of instability
• ACF urges ECOWAS to lift sanctions, commends Senate’s opposition of military action

Ahead of tomorrow’s emergency meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) seeking to restore the ousted President of Niger Republic, Mohamed Bazoum, President Bola Tinubu, serving as ECOWAS chairman, has ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to initiate a slew of financial sanctions targeted at individuals and entities associated with the junta that recently sacked the democratic order in Niger.

This is just as the Presidency yesterday declared that “the ECOWAS mandate and ultimatum is not a Nigerian ultimatum.”

The Special Adviser to the president on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, while refraining from divulging details of the new sanctions, maintained that they are being instituted under the authority of the ECOWAS, adding that ECOWAS had not taken off the option of military action in Niger and would discuss its options at Thursday’s meeting in Abuja.

He said: “I emphasize that this is not an individual action. This is an action taken, yes, by ECOWAS chairman who is the president of Nigeria, but standing on the authority provided by the consensus resolution of all ECOWAS members and heads of state with regard to financial sanctions being levied by ECOWAS Member States against the military junta in Niger.”

Meanwhile, Abdourahmane Tchiani, Niger’s self-declared head of state, has named Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, former minister of economy and finance, as the country’s new prime minister. Zeine’s appointment, which was announced in a statement on Monday night, comes nearly two weeks after the military took over power in Niger.

The new prime minister had served in the cabinet of then-president Mamadou Tandja, who was toppled by the country’s military in 2010. He replaced Mahamadou Ouhoumoudou, who was in Europe during the coup.

The junta also appointed Amadou Didilli as the head of the country’s High Authority for Peace Consolidation (HACP) and Abou Tague Mahamadou as the inspector-general of the army and the national gendarmerie.

Ibro Amadou Bachirou was appointed as the private chief of staff of the junta leader, while Habibou Assoumane was named the commander of the presidential guard. Tchiani, until his new role as head of state, had led the presidential guard, which has held democratically elected President Bazoum hostage since July 26.

The coup leaders have told ECOWAS that they cannot receive a proposed mission to Niamey, Niger’s capital, for ‘security’ reasons, according to an official letter seen yesterday.

“The current context of public anger and revolt following the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS does not permit the welcoming of this delegation in the required conditions of serenity and security,” the foreign ministry said in a letter to the ECOWAS representation in Niamey.

The bloc, whose ultimatum to reinstate Bazoum or face the use of force, expired on Sunday, had sought to send a delegation to Niamey on Tuesday ahead of a crisis summit on Thursday in Abuja.

The coup leaders’ letter said: “The postponement of the announced mission to Niamey is necessary, as is the reworking of certain aspects of the (delegation’s) schedule. The schedule includes meetings with certain personalities, which cannot take place for obvious reasons of security given the atmosphere of the threat of aggression against Niger”.

Also, Mali’s head of diplomacy has warned that a military intervention in Niger by ECOWAS to restore the ousted president could be a “catastrophe”. Neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso, both run by juntas, have expressed their opposition to any use of force against the coup leaders.

Malian Foreign Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, said: “The military force that has been used in other countries, we see the results — it’s a disaster.” He was speaking alongside his Burkinabe counterpart, Olivia Rouamba, during an event aimed at deepening bilateral relations between the two juntas.

Diop invoked Iraq and Libya as examples of countries that had been invaded in the name of democracy with unsuccessful outcomes.

He said he “could not understand why ECOWAS would send a military force to restore fallen authorities, but would not provide arms to help the Sahel countries in their fight against jihadism.”

There was no immediate headway in reversing the coup after the second-highest U.S. diplomat met with Niger’s military leaders on Monday. Victoria Nuland, the acting deputy secretary of state, said she met for more than two hours with Niger’s senior military leaders in the capital Niamey.

Nuland said: “These conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult. This was a first conversation in which the United States was offering its good offices if there is a desire on the part of the people who are responsible for this to return to the constitutional order. I would not say that we were in any way taken up on that offer.”

She said the junta did not respond to her requests to meet Niger’s self-proclaimed new leader, General Tchiani, or the detained elected president, Bazoum, although U.S. officials have been in touch with Bazoum by telephone.

Nuland said that she gave a number of options on ways to reverse the coup. She said she also made clear the consequences for relations with the United States if Niger does not restore Bazoum or follows the path of neighbouring Mali in calling in Russia’s Wagner mercenaries.

Some of the consequences include the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for Niger, and the U.S. decision to pause certain assistance for the government.

“I hope they will keep the door open to diplomacy. We made that proposal. We’ll see. The people who have taken this action understand very well the risks to their sovereignty when Wagner is invited in,” she said.

Corroborating Nuland, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said Russia’s Wagner mercenary group is taking advantage of instability in Niger. According to him, there have been suggestions the coup leaders have asked for help from Wagner, who is known to be present in Mali.

Blinken said he did not think Russia or Wagner instigated Niger’s coup. “However, the U.S. was worried about the group possibly manifesting itself in parts of the Sahel region,” he said.

Wagner is believed to have thousands of fighters in countries including the Central African Republic (CAR) and Mali, where it has lucrative business interests, but also bolsters Russia’s diplomatic and economic relations. The group’s fighters have been accused of widespread human rights abuses in several African countries and whose brutal terrorism has been on full display in Ukraine.

The prominent Wagner-affiliated Telegram channel, Grey Zone, on Monday had said that some 1,500 of its fighters had been sent to Africa. It did not specify where on the continent they had allegedly been deployed.

Wagner’s leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has also urged the junta to “give us a call” in a voice message uploaded to Telegram on Tuesday.

“We are always on the side of the good, on the side of justice, and on the side of those who fight for their sovereignty and for the rights of their people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Arewa leaders, under the umbrella of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) have called for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed against Niger by ECOWAS, just as they commended the Nigerian Senate for rejecting the use of military action against the junta.

The socio-cultural group in the North also sought for more dialogue with the military junta to prevent a further breakdown of talks following the expiration of the one-week deadline earlier given to the regime to restore democratic rule in the country.

In a statement by the ACF National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Tukur Muhammad-Baba, yesterday, the group said: “We at the ACF would like to reiterate our condemnation of the coup and demand that the personal safety of President Bazoum and members of his government be guaranteed by the coup leaders.”

He remarked that “Nigeria and Niger have had brotherly relations over the years and the ACF, upon reviewing the latest political impasse, economic sanctions and expiration of the one-week deadline given to the military junta in Niger, has concluded that dialogue remains the best option to avoid a catastrophic occurrence of events between the two nations and the West African sub-region.

“We should utilise all available goodwill, diplomatic, political, economic and human assets to win back the confidence of the people of Niger, who have, historically, come to regard Nigeria as a Big Brother.”


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Outrage In Zimbabwe As President Appoints Son, Nephew As Ministers



President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe has appointed his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in a new cabinet following his re-election.

David will deputise Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube, his father’s cousin.

The president’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was also named tourism and hospitality deputy minister.

The appointment, announced on Monday, has been greeted with backlash, with citizens raising concerns about nepotism within the government.

The decision is part of the newly constituted cabinet comprising 26 ministries.

A Citizens Coalition for Change lawmaker, Fadzayi Mahere, criticised President Mnangagwa’s cabinet, describing it as “indefensible.”

She raised concerns about legitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and ethical issues within the government.

Mnangagwa had earlier appointed a husband and wife team, Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa, as ministers.

He gave Christopher the power to lead the new Ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica Mutsvangwa is the new minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.

Continue Reading


This Entire Village Was Wiped Out ‘In Just 10 Seconds’ In Morocco’s Devastating Earthquake



Rajaa Acherhri was known as the village math genius. At six years old, she loved solving problems way above her grade level. He sister Sanaa had big dreams too. She wanted to become a doctor, her mother Fatema told CNN.

After dinner on Friday night, the girls were lounging with their heads together in their family home. Rajaa asleep after a long day at school. Sanaa, 12, playing with her phone.

Suddenly, the ground started shaking violently. Fatema was still tidying up in the kitchen when her house begun collapsing around her. She said she leapt towards her girls, only to see them crushed by part of the ceiling. Both were gone instantly.

She buried them the next day, alongside 19 other people who were killed in Tinzert, a tiny mountain village in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

These are among the more than 2,900 people who perished in the disaster, according to state-run broadcaster 2M in the latest death toll, quoting the Moroccan interior ministry.

The quake is also believed to have affected about 100,000 children, according to initial reports, UNICEF said on Monday.

The earthquake has reduced Tinzert to one giant pile of rubble. The damage is so bad it is impossible to tell where one home starts and another finishes. The houses here were old, built in the traditional way – of mud and straw. They were not made to withstand an earthquake; they didn’t need to be. This area doesn’t have earthquakes; there hasn’t been one this bad in more than 120 years.

“It took 10 seconds for the whole village to disappear,” Hakim Idlhousein told CNN.

His house was sliced in half by the earthquake, left looking like a partially collapsed doll’s house. The front is completely gone, while parts of the back are left exposed, including a kitchen cabinet full of supplies that is somehow still standing while everything around it is in ruins.

On Monday afternoon, Idlhousein was having a simple meal with his parents and cousins. Some bread, oil, strong coffee with lots of sugar, laid out a tray outside, on a flat piece of ground where they have been spending their days and nights since the quake. Their house is destroyed and they are afraid of more aftershocks.

A group of neighbors came by, they all hugged and kissed, shared words of comfort and the coffee. With just 300 people, Tinzert is so small that everyone here knows everyone by name. Everyone here lost someone they loved.

The road leading to Tinzert is narrow and steep, and much of the village is now impossible to reach by car.

To get around, the villagers are climbing through the rubble, children helping to carry supplies, hopping from one large piece of debris to another.

After three days of living like this, everyone knows the way around the ruins. The streets no longer exist, they have been replaced by perilous passageways on top of the rubble.

Help has been slow to come and has so far mostly consisted of food and water brought up into the mountains in private cars by volunteers from across Morocco.

Many people are getting increasingly angry and frustrated about the lack of government help. A number of residents told CNN they’ve lost faith that it would ever come.

Tinzert is in the mountainous Al Haouz province, where villages like these are scattered around the hills. Some 1,500 people have died in the earthquake in this area alone, according to Moroccan authorities.

A Moroccan government official told CNN on Monday that the destroyed mountain roads to villages like Tinzert are making it hard to get aid into the hardest-hit regions.

People there have no choice but to wait.

Seeking help, on foot

For 17-year-old AbdelHaq Edabdelah, that wait became unbearable. The pain in his shoulder was too intense to think straight.

The young construction worker was injured when his house in the remote village of Ifghan collapsed. His neighbor Abdeltif Ait Bensoli told CNN Edabdelah’s body was completely buried in rubble, with only his head sticking out.

The neighbors managed to pull him out, but his shoulder was twisted and bruised. He was in a lot of pain and there was nobody in the village who knew how to help him. No painkillers, no first aid.

He waited for two days for help to arrive, sleeping outside with the rest of the village. When nobody came, his neighbors made the decision to try to get him to a doctor.

“The road is blocked with rocks. You can’t get through in a car, it is impossible,” Ait Bensoli said.

Edabdelah lives with his elderly grandparents who couldn’t come with him, so it fell to Ait Bensoli to transport the young man to a hospital.

Another neighbor drove them to the blocked section of the road, where they got out and walked for about 20 minutes through the boulders and rubble covering the path.

Once through that section, they managed to hitch a ride to Asni, a town about two hours southwest of Marrakech where a field hospital opened on Monday morning.

Edabdelah could barely speak by the time they got there. The tiring journey had left him in agony. He was unable to move his arm, his face twisting with every move.

The doctors in Asni immobilized Edabdelah’s shoulder and gave him strong painkillers. They told him he should feel better in about two weeks, then discharged him, focusing on the next in a long line of patients.

‘She knew something bad was going to happen’

Fatema Acherhri was born in Tinzert, as was her husband. The two grew up together, got married and had Rajaa and Sanaa. Acherhri said her second labor was difficult and she didn’t think she could have another child.

Acherhri said she and her husband have no idea what will happen next. The only thing left of their life in the village are their daughters’ graves, dug just a few hundred meters from what used to be their home.

The winter is coming soon and, in these mountains, it can be harsh and cold.

Acherhri’s voice cracks when she speaks about her girls, how pleased they were with their new school supplies when classes began last week. How they loved playing outside with their dad, while she was cooking couscous for them.

Sanaa, the little one, insisted on a trip to the hammam, the traditional Moroccan bathhouse, on Friday. Her father is a construction worker in Marrakech and he only comes home for the weekends.

“She wanted to be clean and pretty when he came,” Acherhri told CNN, trying to hold back tears.

She said she had a strange premonition when Sanaa asked her to put henna on her feet last week.

“I told her she was too young for henna, but she said she wanted to be pretty and to go to Ourika,” she said.

Ourika is a beauty spot in the Atlas Mountains, a lush oasis with a natural spring, beautiful waterfalls and tall green trees. Local people refer to the place as a heaven on earth.

“I think she knew something bad was going to happen, she knew she was going to paradise,” she said.


Continue Reading


Saudi Fund Signs $30 Million Loan Deal With Uganda



Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) has signed a development loan agreement worth 30 million dollars with Uganda to finance the African country’s heart institute project.

The deal was inked between the CEO of the SFD, Sultan Abdulrahman Al-Marshad and Ugandan Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija, in Uganda’s capital Kampala.

Ugandan Minister of Health Ruth Aceng and several other officials attended the signing ceremony, local media reported.

According to reports, the agreement aims to bolster Uganda’s healthcare sector and provide support for its third five-year National Development Plan, which stipulates the country’s medium-term strategic direction, development and priorities.

It would also implement strategies, with the goal of enhancing productivity and social well-being, the report added.

The Heart Institute project was initiated in line with the plan, encompassing establishing medical facilities, introducing cutting-edge medical and technical equipment, holding medical training, and expanding the capacity of cardiac disease prevention and treatment.

The project is expected to benefit more than 62,400 individuals, create job opportunities within the medical sector, and boost the local economy.


Continue Reading


Copyright © Estreet On TV 2023