The Niger junta’s commander, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, has stated that the military is open to dialogue.
Tchiani’s dictatorship has rejected multiple peaceful overtures since his crew deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26. His most recent move, however, comes as ECOWAS prepares to invade the country.
Tichani was quoted on Saturday, August 12 as saying that the doors were open to exploring diplomacy and peace in settling the situation during a meeting with Islamic experts from Nigeria.
Islamic scholars led by Sheik Bala Lau, Chairman of Jam’atul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, met with the junta in Niamey, Niger’s capital on Saturday.
Sheik Lau claimed in a statement made after the meeting that his delegation and the coup leader discussed numerous subjects, including the ECOWAS demand for the reinstatement of Bazoum.
When asked if the dialogue was held, Lau reported Niger Prime Minister Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, who was chosen by the junta, as stating, “Yes, for sure. That was exactly what the leader of our country told them, he did not say he was not open to dialogue.”
‘’We have agreed and the leader of our country has given the green light for dialogue. They will now go back and inform the Nigerian President what they have heard from us…. we hope in the coming days, they (ECOWAS) will come here to meet us to discuss how the sanctions imposed against us will be lifted,” he said.
Sheik Lau stated that the team had previously informed President Bola Tinubu, who also serves as the Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, that their opinion is that the political deadlock in Niger be resolved through discussion.
Based on this, he told General Tchiani that his mission to Niger was to engage in constructive discourse in order to convince him and other military officials behind the coup to pursue peace rather than war in order to resolve the problem.