We won’t return to ECOWAS, deposed President Bazoum ‘will never’ be released – Niger junta

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General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the head of the military junta in the Niger Republic, has promised that none of the three Sahelian nations will apply for readmission to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following their recent joint exit from the bloc.

Additionally, he declared that Mohammed Bazoum, the deposed president of the nation, who was taken prisoner during the July 26, 2023, coup, “will never” be freed by the junta.

Despite several attempts at reconciliation, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger said on January 27, 2024, that they would be leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

As part of the long-term objective of unifying the neighbors of West Africa inside a federation, the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger suggested the formation of a confederation after their withdrawal.

Gen. Tchiani reiterated his commitment to this stance during an interview he gave to the RTN news channel in the capital city of Niamey on Monday.

His words: “Just because we are members of the bloc, food and medicine supplies were cut off. Power was also cut off, and our funds have been frozen. So, we consulted our friends in the Sahel on exiting the bloc to better the lives of our citizens.

“That we should withdraw from the bloc that is answerable to the foreign countries. So, we have withdrawn our membership from the bloc and would never return to the union.”

Speaking further, he stated that the country is not worried about the consequences that may arise in terms of security, trade, and socio-economic activities following their withdrawal from ECOWAS.

“Now that the world is a global village, is the world within ECOWAS? So, God will feed every human He created.

“We would never release Bazoum. Setting Bazoum free is akin to stabbing ourselves in the stomach which would do harm to Nigeriens,” he added.