Ecowas leaders have approved armed intervention in Niger “as soon as possible” following a meeting to discuss the coup.

Leaders of the regional bloc said they had agreed to deploy a “standby” military force.

However, they have not given any details of the size of the force.

Speaking to journalists at the end of Thursday’s meeting, former Nigerian military leader General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who led a delegation to Niger over a week ago but did not get to see the coup leader, said: “Nobody wants to go to war. We want peace. All options are on the table”.

Omar Touray, president of the Ecowas group, said members had decided “to order the deployment of the Ecowas standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger”.

He did not set out further details of what the force it intends to assemble might look like or what action it might take.

Abdel Musah, the bloc’s security commissioner, told the BBC that Ecowas would not allow the junta to stay in power during a transitional period like their counterparts in Burkina Faso and Mali.

However, he said the junta was not willing to have direct contact with Ecowas, making negotiations difficult.

Ivory Coast’s Alassane Ouattara told BBC that Ecowas had intervened in African countries in order to restore constitutional order before.

“Today we have a similar situation in Niger, and I like to say that Ecowas cannot accept this,” he said.

Mr Ouattara said the Ivory Coast would provide a battalion of 850 to 1,100 men, and said soldiers from Nigeria and Benin would also be deployed.

Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu said the use of force would be a “last resort”.

A military junta seized power in Niger on July 26 after deposing president Mohamed Bazoum. 

The US and UN say they are concerned about the health and safety of Bazoum, who has spent more than two weeks under house arrest. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please disable your adblocker and support our journalism. Thank you.