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The African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa. /CFP

AU calls for clear transition timetables in Gabon and Niger

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The African Union (AU) has reiterated its call to the military leaders in Gabon and Niger to establish clear timelines for a return to civilian rule.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) issued a statement on Tuesday in which it urged for a “clear and time-bound transition period timetable towards a return to civilian rule in both states.”

The council also reaffirmed its “zero-tolerance for unconstitutional change of government”.

Military officers seized power in Gabon and Niger in August and July, respectively, ousting Presidents Ali Bongo and Mohamed Bazoum.

The military leaders in Gabon had initially promised to oversee free and fair elections, but are yet to give a definite timetable for organising them. Meanwhile, Niger’s military leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani proposed a three-year transition of power without giving any details on the potential transition.

The PSC also called for the immediate and unconditional release of Bazoum and all other detainees and “respect for their human rights, including the protection of their physical health and moral integrity.”

Several organizations including the United Nations, West African bloc ECOWAS and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and international powers such as the U.S. and France have demanded that Bazoum be released and reinstated as head of state.

Last week, Niger’s military leaders said they foiled an attempt by Bazoum to escape their custody but his lawyers denied that claim.

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