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Nigeria has cut electricity exports to neighboring Niger after a coup that removed the country’s government from power.
Since yesterday [August 1], Nigeria has disconnected the high-voltage line transporting electricity to Niger," an unnamed source from Niger’s power utility told the AFP.
A group of military commanders overthrew the Niger government in late July and the country’s army declared its support for the coup. Other African countries, grouped in the Economic Community of West African States, immediately imposed sanctions on Niger.
Other military-led countries in the region, however, supported the coup, with Mali and Burkina Faso warning against any external attempts to remove the new leadership of Niger. The two said any such attempt at intervention would be considered a declaration of war against them, too, Al Jazeera reported this week.
ECOWAS has threatened the use of force unless the junta reinstated the elected president of Niger, with one official saying “The military option is the very last option on the table, the last resort, but we have to prepare for the eventuality.”
“There is a need to demonstrate that we cannot only bark but can bite,” Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security also said.
The new self-proclaimed leader of Niger, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, for his part, slammed the EVCOWAS sanctions as “inhumane” and “illegal”, and said he would not bow to the pressure the group was exerting.
The Western African country is a former French colony and a major supplier of uranium for France’s and other European nuclear power plants. It is also dependent on Niger for 70% of its electricity supply.
Following the coup, there has been some concern about uranium deliveries to the EU but, according to Euratom, there was no immediate risk for supply even if Niger halted exports of the commodity, Reuters reported this week.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com