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Niger’s military junta defies ECOWAS threat, forms new government



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The Niger Republic military junta has formed a cabinet, days after sacking the democratically elected government of Mohamed Bazoum despite ultimatum by Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore the democratically elected president back to power or face military actions.

Making the announcement in a televised broadcast on Wednesday night, Mahamane Roufai Laouali, who is cited as ‘secretary general of the government’ read out the names of 21 ministers without detailing further plans.

Among the cabinet are three of the coup leaders who were named ministers of defence, interior and sports.

The government, which is about half the size of the previous one, will be headed by Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, who was named prime minister on Tuesday.

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The development comes as leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) prepare to reconvene in Abuja to discuss the crisis in the landlocked West African nation.

ECOWAS had given the junta a seven-day ultimatum to reinstate ousted Bazoum or risk intervention of whatever form.

Since the expiration of ECOWAS’ deadline on Sunday, there has been uncertainty on the bloc’s possible military intervention to restore democracy in the country.

The regional body’s suggestion of military force, even as a last resort, has been met with backlash from certain foreign countries, global organisations, and concerned individuals.