ECOWAS gears up for intervention in Niger after coup

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has said most of its member states are ready to participate in a standby force that could intervene in Niger following a coup there late last month.

Defence chiefs from the 15-member regional bloc met in Accra on Thursday as part of the latest efforts to overturn the removal of Mohamed Bazoum, Niger’s president who was deposed in a July 26 coup.

All member states except those under military rule and Cape Verde are ready to participate in the standby force, ECOWAS commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah said on Thursday.

“Democracy is what we stand for and it’s what we encourage,” Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa said at the start of the two-day in Accra.

“The focus of our gathering is not simply to react to events, but to proactively chart a course that results in peace and promotes stability.”

The meeting to discuss Niger’s crisis comes after an August 6 deadline passed for mutinous soldiers to release and reinstate Bazoum or face military intervention. Bazoum remains under house arrest with his wife and son in the capital, Niamey.

The bloc has long deliberated on the use of force which it described as a “last resort” for weeks due to several mediation teams it sent to Niamey and also due to a lack of consensus within its ranks.

Burkina Faso and Mali, which have experienced multiple coups since 2020, warned that any military intervention in Niger would be declared as an act of war, revealing a fracture in the region between its coastal countries and those in the volatile Sahel.

Guinea, which is also under military rule and which has condemned any external aggression, has refrained from making any other comments.

Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from the Ghanaian border with Burkina Faso, on Thursday had said Ghanaian authorities were nervous about provoking its direct neighbour with which it has cultural ties and military cooperation agreements.

The top security body of the African Union met on Monday to consider whether it would support military intervention but has yet to make its decision public.

The AU’s Peace and Security Council could overrule a military intervention if it felt that wider stability on the continent was threatened by it. If it rejects the use of force, there are few grounds under which ECOWAS could claim legal justification. 
~Al Jareera
Share on Google Plus

About Newsmart


Post a Comment