West Africa’s regional organization, ECOWAS has said a military intervention in Niger was “the last resort”.
“(The) military option is the very last option on the table, the last resort, but we have to prepare for the eventuality,” said Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.
The statement comes after the military led coup of the Uranium rich West African country.
The country’s former colonial power, France, on Wednesday, August 2 France sent in a fifth plane to evacuate its citizens, with coup leader General Abdourahamane Tiani insisting France had no reason to quit the country.
Also, the United States ordered a partial evacuation of its embassy in Niamey. On Wednesday, Nigeria also cut off power supply to Niger, to further our pressure on the country’s leaders. Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, depends on Nigeria for 70 percent of its power.
West African military chiefs met in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja on Wednesday to frame a response to the coup while a delegation was in Niger for negotiations, a week after the coup that shook the fragile nation.
Also, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) leaders have imposed trade and financial sanctions, giving the coup leaders a week to reinstate Niger’s democratically elected president or face the possible use of force.
An ECOWAS team headed by former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar was in Niger for talks, he added at the start of a three-day meeting of the grouping’s military chiefs in Abuja.
Nigeria, a top military and economic power in West Africa has vowed a firm line against coups that have proliferated across the region since 2020.
Also, Junta-ruled Mali and Burkina Faso have warned any military intervention in their neighbour would be tantamount to a “declaration of war” against them.
President Mohamed Bazoum, 63, was voted in 2021 after winning elections that ushered in Niger’s first-ever peaceful transition of power.
But after surviving two attempted coups, Bazoum was overthrown on July 26 when members of his own guard detained him at the presidency.
Their commander, General Tiani, has declared himself leader.