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EU says will not recognise Niger coup authorities

The European Union on Saturday said it would not recognise Niger’s putschists who seized power this week and that it was suspending security cooperation with the jihadist-hit country.

Abdourahamane Tchiani, a general who has led Niger’s presidential guard since 2011, declared himself head of the troubled West African country on national television on Friday.

The presidential guard had detained democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum and confined him to his official residence in the capital Niamey on Wednesday, in the latest coup to strike Africa’s Sahel region.

Neighbouring Mali and Burkina Faso have both undergone two military coups since 2020 as the countries battle long-running insurgencies waged by jihadists linked to the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda.

“The European Union does not recognise and will not recognise the authorities from the putsch in Niger,” the bloc’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.

“All cooperation in the security field is suspended indefinitely with immediate effect” in addition to the end to budgetary aid, he added.

Bazoum “remains the only legitimate president of Niger”, the statement said, calling for his immediate release and holding the coup leaders to account for the safety of him and his family.

Borrell said the EU was ready to support future decisions taken by West Africa’s regional bloc, “including the adoption of sanctions”.

Leaders from the Economic Community of West African States will meet on Sunday in Abuja to discuss the coup, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu said.

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