Niger coup leaders name new prime minister

ECOWAS will hold another emergency summit on Thursday in Nigeria

lamine_zeine Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine | Twitter

Coup leaders in Niger, on Monday, named Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as the country’s new prime minister. Zeine was formerly the finance minister. The coup leaders also named Lieutenant-Colonel Habibou Assoumane as Niger’s new commander of the presidential guard. 

The military in Niger, on July 26, ousted the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum and suspended the constitution. The West African regional bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had threatened military intervention if the military hadn't restored Bazoum as president by Sunday. ECOWAS will hold another emergency summit on Thursday in Nigeria to address the political crisis in after the military leaders ignored the deadline to cede power. 

On Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with the coup leaders. Nuland said that the conversations had been "extremely frank and at times quite difficult," BBC reported. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in the meanwhile, stressing the need to reinstate Bazoum and for Niger to revert to its “constitutional order,” said that diplomacy is the 'preferred way' to resolve the crisis.

The coup leaders, however, refused to let Nuland meet Bazoum, who was detained by members of the Presidential Guard on July 26. "This was a first conversation in which the United States was offering its good offices if there is a desire on the part of the people who are responsible for this to return to the constitutional order," she told France 24.

Niger junta, on Monday, closed the country's airspace citing the possibility of military intervention from neighbouring countries. As a result, flights to certain African destinations were forced to divert. 

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