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Niger’s military rulers reopen airspace after seizing power in coup

Niamey, Sept. 4, 2023

The military junta in Niger has reopened the West African country’s airspace again more than one month after seizing power in a coup.

Niger’s airspace is accessible for both civil and commercial aircraft with immediate effect, the military said on Monday.

The junta had closed the country’s airspace a few days after ousting the democratically elected president in a putsch on July 26, among other things, to prevent the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) from intervening.

ECOWAS has threatened the use of force to restore constitutional order if Niger’s ousted president Mohamed Bazoum, now under house arrest, is not reinstated.

So far this has not happened; instead, the commander of the elite Presidential Guard responsible for the coup, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, appointed himself the new ruler and created a caretaker government which is to rule “no longer than three years.”

Niger, a Sahel country with around 26 million people and one of the poorest populations in the world, was one of the last democratic partners of the United States and Europe in the so-called “coup belt” surrounding it.

In Brussels, the EU is busy preparing sanctions against Niger’s putischists targeting leading junta figures, according to diplomats.

Organisations supporting the new military rulers could also be subject to EU sanctions.

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