Food, Humanitarian Aids Pile Up At Niger’s Border As ECOWAS Sanctions Bite Harder

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A line of thousands of trucks stretching back 25 km (15 miles), including those with food, humanitarian aid and industrial materials has been stuck at the Malanville border crossing in northern Benin to the Niger Republic for more than 20 days. 

This was seen in a documentary posted by Channels TV on its verified X (formerly Twitter) page which was monitored. 

According to the documentary, the backlog is one of the clearest signs yet of the impact of sanctions imposed by the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Niger after a military coup on July 26.

The blockade is aimed at pressuring the junta to reinstate the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. It has driven up the prices of food items in Niger during the lean season, affected industries and led to a shortage of medical supplies. 

Nigerien trucker Soulemane, who had been stuck at the border with his cargo of sugar and oil for over 20 days, said, “We don’t know if we’ve been taken hostage or what. There’s no food, there’s no water, there’s nowhere to sleep.”

On Monday reported how the regional bloc turned down the three-year transition plan proposed by Niger’s military ruler General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

Abdourahamane Tchiani said his government planned to return power to a civilian government in the next three years.

But Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, in an interview with BBC, described General Tchiani’s proposal as unacceptable.

Hundreds of Nigeriens have been taking to the streets to express their support for the military regime.

Last weekend, their protest coincided with ECOWAS’s insistence on invading the country to flush out coup leaders if diplomacy fails to return deposed President Mohamed Bazoum to power.

The gathering took place on the same day that a government official in Niger stated that negotiations between the ECOWAS team, led by former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar, retd, and the junta produced little progress.

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