ECOWAS delegation meets deposed Niger Republic president, junta leader

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A delegation from West Africa’s regional bloc ECOWAS met Niger’s ousted president Mohamed Bazoum and held talks with junta leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani.

A plane carrying the delegation landed in the capital Niamey at about 1pm (12:00 GMT) on Saturday, a day after the bloc’s military chiefs said they were ready to intervene militarily to reinstate Bazoum.

Niger’s governing military council confirmed the arrival of the ECOWAS representatives, headed by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar.

The group was allowed to meet Bazoum, the first time foreign officials have seen the ousted leader in weeks.

“We met Bazoum, we heard from him what was done to him. He told us about the problems he’s facing. We’ll take it to the leaders who sent us here,” said Abubakar. “Without doubt, the meeting has opened discussions to lead to a way to resolve this crisis.”

A previous ECOWAS delegation led by Abubakar earlier this month tried and failed to meet Bazoum and the coup leader.

The West Africa representatives also met with Tchiani on Saturday, though there was no information as to what was discussed.

There was no immediate comment from the military rulers. Tchiani was scheduled to address the nation in a televised address on Saturday evening.