The military coup plotters in Niger have promised to kill the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum should ECOWAS go ahead with its proposed military intervention to restore constitutional order, The Associated Press reports.
The news agency quoted a Western military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation that representatives of the junta told U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country this week.
The threat of harm the deposed president raises concerns for both ECOWAS and the junta, having demonstrated its will to stay in power after seizing control on July 26.
Recall that leaders from the 15-member West African bloc met Thursday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, to discuss on the next line of action on Niger
In a 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.
Meanwhile the President Joe Biden-led US government has said it will hold the junta accountable for the safety of democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and detained members of the government.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday in response to the reported poor treatment of Mr. Bazoum and his family by the junta.
“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 United States appreciates the determination of ECOWAS to explore all options for the peaceful resolution of the crisis,” Blinken said.