Delegation from West African bloc meets ousted Nigerien president

Delegation from West African bloc meets ousted Nigerien president

Meeting open talks to resolution of crisis, says Nigerian former head of state

By Olanrewaju Kola

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AA) - A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met Saturday with the ousted President of Niger Mohammed Bazoum in a new diplomatic push to tackle the crisis.

Former Nigerian head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, said the delegation held talks with Bazoum in the Nigerien capital of Niamey in the presence of Prime Minister Ali Zaine, who was appointed by the Niger military administration after the July 26 coup.

"We met Bazoum, we heard from him what was done to him. He told us about the problems he’s facing," said Abubakar.

An optimistic Abubakar said the meeting opened discussions that will lead to a resolution to the crisis.

A previous ECOWAS delegation earlier in August failed to meet with the junta leaders as the military administration declined them an audience.

The latest meeting came one day after military chiefs from the West African bloc met in Ghana where they decided to use force to restore Bazoum if talks fail.

Thousands of men lined up Saturday in Niger to volunteer for the armed forces as the threat of ECOWAS military intervention looms.

Niger has approximately 33,000 personnel in its army.

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