Nigerian leaders criticise UN chief, accuse him of deceitful actions

The military leaders who staged a coup in Niger denounced UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday, accusing him of obstructing their involvement in the General Assembly through what they termed as “perfidious actions.”

President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted by the military on July 26 and has remained under house arrest along with his wife and child since then.

The military leaders have announced their intention to implement a three-year transition period aimed at reinstating constitutional order.

Niger, the fourth West African nation to experience a coup since 2020, has faced sanctions and the prospect of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Bazoum’s ousting has drawn strong condemnation from Western governments and international organisations, including the United Nations.

In a public television broadcast, the military issued a news release, urging both the national and international communities to take note of what they referred to as the deceitful actions of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, actions that they believe could hinder any attempts to resolve the crisis in their country.

Guterres “went astray in the exercise of his mission by obstructing Niger’s full participation in the 78th session of the UN General Assembly”, it added.

World leaders from around the globe have convened in New York this week for the annual United Nations General Assembly.

Bakary Yaou Sangare, formerly Niger’s ambassador to the UN before the coup and now the country’s foreign minister, was scheduled to represent Niamey at the event.

“Mr Guterres not only refused to take note of the official list of delegates from Niger… but above all acceded to the fanciful request of the former minister of foreign affairs Hassoumi Massaoudou tending to revoke the permanent representative of Niger to the United Nations”, the military statement said.

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