July 20, 2024

Niger: ECOWAS prepares standby force ahead of proposed military intervention

Leaders from the West African sub-region have embarked on plans for a possible military intervention in Niger on Friday, despite their continued optimism for a peaceful resolution to the political crisis.

The ECOWAS leaders in a meeting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Thursday, ordered the activation of a standby force for possible use against the junta.

They hinted that all options including military intervention were on the table. The bloc also vowed to enforce all penalties, travel bans, and asset freezes on the junta.

According to the communique read by ECOWAS President Omar Touray, the leaders announced that “all diplomatic efforts made by ECOWAS, in resolving the crisis have been defiantly repelled by the military leadership of the Republic of Niger.”

To deter the junta from going further with the coup, the ECOWAS leaders directed “the Committee of the Chief of defence staff to activate the ECOWAS standby force with all its elements immediately.”

The regional alliance also ordered “the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger.”

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara called the house arrest of Mohamed Bazoum, the deposed president, a “terrorist act” and pledged to support the ECOWAS military intervention when ready.

The United States and other Western countries have pledged their support for ECOWAS as the regional bloc continues to restore constitutional order in Niger.

“The United States joins the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in calling for the restoration of constitutional order in Niger,” Blinken said in a statement released by the U.S. State Department.

The US recently stopped several foreign assistance programs for the country following the military junta’s overthrow of Niger’s democratically elected president.

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