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Ex-rebel leader vows to reinstate ousted Niger president

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A former Tuareg insurgent-turned-tourism minister in Niger says his new political party will aim to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, who has been detained at his home since members of the presidential guard took power two weeks ago.

Rhissa Ag Boula told BBC Newshour: “It’s about restoring constitutional equality. We are trying to mobilise people in Niger and we are trying to mobilise regional organisations and get them to help us restore the president to power.”

Mr Boula was a leader in two Tuareg ethnic insurgencies in the country, one in the 1990s and the other from 2007 to 2009.

Today, he claims most people in Niger don’t back the uprising against the president and argues that regional powers must take robust action:

“We have the majority of the population, the majority of people Niger believe in democracy – they believe in the values of democracy and of the republic and they want a return to peaceful order.

“There is only one legitimate government. We [the Council of the Resistance for the Republic] as a civil society group are supporting that government, and we want it to be restored to power. We want the international community to help us do that.”

“We are asking Ecowas to take responsibility for security regionally. There’s been this contagion of coups and it’s got to stop. If Ecowas is serious about defending democracy, then they should intervene.”

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