Pope Francis on Sunday urged a diplomatic solution to a political crisis in Niger, sparked by a coup that threatens stability in the region.
“I am following with concern what is happening in Niger, and join the bishops’ call in favour of peace in the country and stability in the Sahel,” said Pope Francis, addressing the faithful in St Peter’s Square after his Angelus prayer.
“I join with prayer the efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution as soon as possible for the good of everyone,” said the 86-year-old.
Army officers ousted President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, making Niger the fourth West African nation to suffer a coup since 2020.
Meanwhile, Niger’s new military ruler said Saturday a transition of power would not go beyond three years, and warned that any attack on the country would not be easy for those involved.
“Our ambition is not to confiscate power,” General Abdourahamane Tiani said in a televised address. Any transition of power “would not go beyond three years”, he said.
But he added: “If an attack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think.”
He also said: “ECOWAS is getting ready to attack Niger by setting up an occupying army in collaboration with a foreign army,” without saying which country he meant.