Niger junta appoints civilians to Cabinet, member of military as vice presiden...

Niger’s junta leader appointed civilians to the posts of government secretary-general and Cabinet director by decree Wednesday as well as a member of the military as vice president.

Mahamane Roufai Laouali, former second deputy secretary-general of the government, is now secretary-general, replacing Kandine Adam, while Soumana Boubacar, a teacher-researcher, will take up the post of chief of staff to the president.

The appointments were made by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, president of the 

National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country, the name of the group that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

Gen. Salifou Modi, Bazoum’s former army chief of staff and the ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, is now vice president of the junta.

He was not officially present in Niger, but during his visit to the Malian transitional military authorities on Wednesday, the presidency of neighboring Mali introduced him as such. 

On the same day, Niger’s current second-in-command also visited the junta in Burkina Faso.

His visits came in the wake of the joint support expressed by Burkina Faso and Mali for the coup in Niger, but also at a time when a meeting of the chiefs of staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) opened in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss the situation.

Following a summit on Sunday, the West African bloc decided to impose sanctions on Niger and give the junta a seven-day ultimatum to release and reinstate Bazoum, who was democratically elected in 2021. It also threatened to use force.

Speaking on the eve of the country’s Independence Day, which falls on Aug. 3, General Tchiani spoke of the “contemptuous and bellicose” attitude on the part of ECOWAS and refused “to give in to any threats, wherever they may come from,” as well as rejecting any interference in Niger’s internal affairs.

He said he wants to create the conditions for a peaceful transition that should lead in a relatively short and reasonable time to general elections, “but above all a better approach in our fight against terrorism.”

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