African Union suspends Niger's membership in wake of coup

African Union suspends Niger's membership in wake of coup

Group says suspension stems from recent coup as concerns rise about democratic governance

By Andrew Wasike

NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) - The African Union (AU) suspended Niger from various institutions and activities Tuesday until the restoration of constitutional order following a recent political upheaval that saw the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum.

The AU urged its 55 member states to "reject this unconstitutional change of government and to refrain from any action likely to grant legitimacy to the illegal regime in Niger."

The Union said the suspension is a direct result of the recent military coup that raised concerns about the state of democratic governance.

Niger was plunged into turmoil July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted Bazoum.

The abrupt change in leadership led to widespread concern among the international community and has prompted the AU to take action to uphold democratic norms and principles.

Niger, with a population of 25 million, is a nation known for its diverse culture and history. It also has approximately 33,000 personnel in its army.

Most African governments are against the recent coup which raised doubts about its political stability and commitment to democratic governance.

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met Aug. 20 with Bazoum in a diplomatic push to tackle the crisis.

ECOWAS ordered the activation of its standby force Aug. 10 to restore constitutional order.

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