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Niger coup leader: “We will hand over to civilian government in three years.”

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The Niger junta’s head, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, has promised to hand over power to a civilian government within three years.

On Saturday night, he declared this on television.

Tchiani spoke after meeting with an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) team led by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd).

General Tchiani stated that the junta would organize a committee within a month to analyze and draft the country’s new constitution.

While stating that Niger does not want to go to war, the General stated that the country will defend itself if necessary.

He did, however, say that the door was still open for dialogue.

ECOWAS has yet to respond to the junta leader’s statement, but Abdulsalami is scheduled to brief the regional bloc on the meeting’s outcome.

Meanwhile, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, Niger’s military-appointed prime minister, stated that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum will be safe and uninjured.

Recall President Bola Tinubu warned on Friday of “grave consequences” if Niger’s military authorities allow Bazoum’s health to deteriorate while he is under house arrest.

“Nothing will happen to him,” Lamine Zeine told The New York Times, “because we don’t have a tradition of violence in Niger.”

So far, Niger’s new leadership have shown little flexibility and have cautioned against “illegal aggression.”

Meanwhile, according to Radio France International, thousands of volunteers turned out in central Niamey on Saturday to register as civilian auxiliary who may be mobilized to support the army.

Following a two-day conference of the regional bloc’s military chiefs in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, ECOWAS stated ready to act in Niger ‘anytime the order is given’.

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