Niger Coup:West African Leaders To Activate Standby Force On Military Junta

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Abuja, August 10 -(Mediaage NG News) – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has ordered the activation of the regional group’s standby force, following a coup last month in Niger that ousted the President Mohamed Bazoum over two weeks ago.

The force should be deployed “to restore constitutional order in the republic of Niger,” according to a statement read by Omar Alieu Touray, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Although, it is still unclear what such a deployment would entail. Mediaage NG is seeking clarification from ECOWAS.

ECOWAS had earlier enacted sanctions and issued a week ultimatum to reinstate the president or face potential military action but, the coup plotters having failed to heed to such warning, formed a new government on Thursday.

That deadline came and went on Sunday, August 6, without any change in the political situation. ECOWAS leaders have said their preference is to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis but said it could be forced to send military forces as a last resort.

Ivorian leader, Alassane Ouattara after the meeting said ECOWAS had intervened in other African countries to restore constitutional order previously.

“Today, we have a similar situation in Niger, and I like to say that Ecowas cannot accept this”, he said.

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Mr Ouattara said the Ivory Coast would provide a battalion of 850 to 1,100 men, and said soldiers from Nigeria and Benin would also be deployed.

Niger’s armed forces appeared to be preparing for possible military intervention this week, a military source said.

A convoy of about 40 pick-up trucks arrived in the capital at nightfall on Sunday evening, bringing troops from other parts of the country.

It seems the military junta in Niger are backed by Algeria and Russia.

Mali and Burkina Faso, led by soldiers who seized power, have expressed solidarity with Niger’s junta and warned that any military intervention would be seen as a declaration of war. Guinea has also said it backs Niger.

The US and UN say they are concerned about the health and safety of deposed president Mohamed Bazoum, who has spent more than two weeks under house arrest.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General said he was concerned about the reportedly “deplorable living conditions” Mr Bazoum and his family were in.

Meanwhile, prior to the meeting, Muslim clerics from the northern part of Nigeria, which shares a long border with Niger, had urged the country’s President, Bola Tinubu against using force to oust the coup leaders. But, speaking after the meeting, Mr. Tinubu said: “No option is taken off the table, including the use of force as a last resort.”If we don’t do it, no one else will do it for us”.

This is a developing story, more details to emerge.

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