The African Union on Friday pledged support for the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to invade and restore constitutional order in the Niger Republic.
The union’s chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat, in a statement, said he stands behind the group’s response to the coup in Niger.
After a key summit in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Thursday, ECOWAS instructed its military chiefs to put together an intervention force for possible deployment in Niger. However, it stressed that the key priority was moving forward peacefully.
Mr Mahamat also reiterated his call for the immediate release of ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum and all members of his family and government.
“Such treatment of a democratically elected president is unacceptable,” he said, adding that Mr Bazoum was being held in “worryingly poor conditions.”
On July 26, officers of the presidential guard in Niger ousted Mr Bazoum.
The elite unit commander, Abdourahamane Tchiani, subsequently appointed himself the new ruler and dissolved the constitution.
Mr Bazoum and his family have been held in his residence for over two weeks now.
In the so-called “coup belt” of the Sahel region, Niger had been the exception to the rule, with its democratic government representing one of the last strategic partners of the West in the fight against Islamic terrorists in the region.
The international community condemned the coup and pushed the coup leaders to restore order and hand power.