Mali has announced a plan to send a joint military delegation with Burkina Faso to Niger in a clear show of solidarity with their fellow military junta.
The announcement comes just a day after Niger’s generals ignored an ultimatum to bring back the deposed elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, or face military intervention from neighboring West African governments.
The military junta also announced that it had shut down its airspace and was ready to defend its territory.
Despite the ultimatum, members of regional bloc ECOWAS are divided on whether to take military action.
Lawmakers, groups such as MURIC and think tanks in Nigeria among others have warned against the proposed military intervention.
Nigeria, Senegal and Ivory Coast are pushing for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum after he was ousted and replaced by General Abdourahmane Tchiani.
Meanwhile, the Italian foreign ministry has called on ECOWAS to extend the deadline issued to the coup leaders in Niamey.
Antonio Tajani, the Italy’s Foreign Minister said diplomacy is the right way to end the impasse.
“The only way is the diplomatic one. I hope that the ultimatum of Ecowas which expired last night will be extended today,” Antonio Tajani said on Monday.
Ecowas has not issued an official statement since the deadline expired but the army hinted that preparations to invade Niger had started in two African countries but gave no evidence, according to the BBC.
Mali and Burkina Faso have expressed their open support to the juntas in Niger with the coup leaders pledging to come to the aid of the Abdourahmane Tchiani-led government in case the ECOWAS carries out its threat