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Niger Coup: ECOWAS delegation finally meets President Bazoum, military officers

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Niger Coup: ECOWAS delegation finally meets President Bazoum, military officers

Delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) arrived in Niger and secured a meeting with ousted president Mohamed Bazoum on Saturday, as they sought a peaceful rather than military solution to the crisis in the West African nation since military officers seized power in a coup.

Bazoum was “in good spirits”, a source close to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) told AFP — though he remains under detention and his electricity was still cut off.

Democratically elected president Bazoum has been detained with his family at the president’s official residence since the coup, with growing international concerns over his condition in detention.

The ECOWAS delegation was also in Niger for talks with the officers who seized power from Bazoum on July 26.

READ ALSO: Burkina Faso, Mali, deploy warplanes as ECOWAS delegation arrives Niger Republic

Led by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, the West African representatives met with some of the senior officers who seized power, said the source, without saying if they included coup leader General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

A previous ECOWAS delegation led by Abubakar earlier this month had tried and failed to meet him, or Bazoum.

Saturday’s visit came after ECOWAS military chiefs announced they were ready to intervene to reinstate the ousted president.

ECOWAS has agreed to activate a “standby force” as a last resort to restore democracy in Niger.

But it says it favours dialogue to defuse the crisis.

A source close to Saturday’s delegation said it would send “a message of firmness” to the army officers and meet Bazoum.

ECOWAS chair and Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Friday threatened Niamey with “grave consequences” if the new regime allows Bazoum’s health to worsen, an EU official said.

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