/ 19 February 2010

African Union condemns Niger coup

African Union condemns Niger coup

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

African Union chief Jean Ping on Friday condemned the military coup in Niger and said he was following developments “with concern”.

Ping, who heads the continental body’s executive arm, “is in close contact with the president of Ecowas [Economic Community of West African States] and with other international actors who are involved”, a statement said.

The coup happened “in the context of the constitutional and political crisis in which Niger is embroiled, ,said the statement from the 53-state organisation’s headquarters in Addis Ababa.

It went on to say the AU “systematically condemns any unconstitutional change of government and consequently condemns the coup that took place in Niger” and called for a “swift return to constitutional order”.

Niger’s new military junta announced earlier on Friday it had sacked the government, a day after a coup that toppled strongman President Mamadou Tandja in the impoverished West African country. — AFP