Niger coup leaders form new govt

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The military leaders in Niger, who seized power in a coup last month, have formed a new government, according to a decree read out on national television on Thursday.

Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine will lead the 21-member junta, with generals from the new military governing council heading the defence and interior ministries.

The leader of mutineers who seized power in Niger, Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, signed a decree on the formation of a new transitional government, media reported on Thursday.

Tchiani signed the decree on Wednesday, the ActuNiger new portal reported, adding that the new interim government consists of 21 ministers.

According to the list of new government members, an absolute minority of them are in the military ranks.

On July 26 President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guards, led by Tchiani, who proclaimed himself the country’s new leader.

Then the caretaker National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland closed the country’s borders, brushing aside security agreements with France, Niger’s former coloniser.

On July 30, the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, suspended all financial aid to the country and froze rebels’ assets.

The sub-regional bloc also imposed a ban on commercial flights to and from the country and closed all borders.

ECOWAS moved further and gave the coup leaders one week within which to reinstate Bazoum and restore order, hinting that it would resort to military intervention otherwise.

The ultimatum expired on Sunday.

Meanwhile, ECOWAS leaders are expected to meet over the Nigerien question in Abuja, Nigeria on Thursday, Aug. 10.

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