Friday, April 12, 2024

Ecowas military chiefs agree on Niger intervention plan

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

ECOWAS leaders last Sunday gave Niger coup leaders a one-week ultimatum to re-instate ousted President Mohammed Bazoum.

The West African leaders threatened sanctions and possible use of force against the coup leaders if they fail to comply.

There was a signal when the leaders held an emergency meeting in Abuja, Nigeria last week that punitive measures against Niger’s new military leaders was a priority.

But the coup leaders have rejected such a threat and received backing from their colleague military juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali who are said they would go to the defence of Niger.

“Mali and Burkina Faso warn that any military intervention in Niger will be considered as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” their joint statement this week read.

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Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani is Niger’s coup leader. Photo: AFP

Intervention plan ready

Following series of meetings held by ECOWAS military chiefs, there has been an agreement to activate an intervention plan although there was a signal, that would be the last option as the deadline approaches for civilian rule to be restored.

Ousted President Mohamed Bazoum himself this week authored an opinion piece in the Washington Post, urging the US and “entire international community” to help “restore constitutional order” in his country.

He said he was writing “as a hostage” and warned that the Sahel region could fall further under Russian influence, via the Wagner Group.

Mohamed Bazoum

Bazoum warned that the coup, if it is allowed to succeed, would have “devastating consequences for our country, our region and the entire world”.

“Fighting for our shared values, including democratic pluralism and respect for the rule of law, is the only way to make sustainable progress against poverty and terrorism,” Bazoum wrote.

“The Nigerien people will never forget your support at this pivotal moment in our history.”

When ECOWAS defence chiefs ended their three-day meeting in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, on Friday, they signalled that they had drawn up a detailed plan for the use of force.

ECOWAS leaders to consider plan

The plan now awaits consideration from ECOWAS leaders.

“All the elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out here, including the resources needed, the how and when we are going deploy the force,” Abdel-Fatau Musah, Ecowas commissioner for political affairs, peace and security said.

He added that “The chiefs of defence staff and their teams have worked round the clock to come up with a concept of operation for an eventual military intervention in the Republic of Niger to restore constitutional order and to ensure the release of the detained President.

“All the elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out here and been refined including the timing, including the resources needed and including the how and where and when we are going deploy such a force.”

Niger’s junta has already vowed to respond to any foreign intervention and has been holding Bazoum and his family in his official residence in the capital Niamey for days now.

The country is already grappling with two Islamist insurgencies – one in the south-west, which swept in from Mali in 2015, and the other in the south-east, involving jihadists based in north-eastern.


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