ECOWAS troops on standby as Niger military junta threatens to kill deposed President Bazoum

Nigerian reinforcements ECOMOG peacekeeping troops arrive on May 28, 1997 at Lungi International Airport in Freetown with a Nigerian airfoce Hercules cargo shuttling troops, ammunition and supplies following the military coup in Sierra Leone. (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 August 2023:

Leaders of the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met in Abuja, Nigeria yesterday Thursday for an emergency summit to discuss their response to last month’s military takeover in Niger, after ECOWAS deadline for the coup leaders to release ousted President Bazoum and restore democracy.

The ECOWAS summit was convened just hours after Niger’s coup leaders announced a new interim government made up of twenty-one ministers to consolidate the junta’s power.

At the conclusion of the summit, the West African leaders read out a communique repeating their earlier threat to use all options – including  military force to restore constitutional order in Niger.

The communique included a resolution for ECOWAS military chiefs to immediately “activate the ECOWAS Standby Force with all its elements”. (Photo: ECOWAS leaders at Abuja summit – 10 Aug 2023)

ECOWAS Heads of State also agreed to take other actions, including “border closures, travel bans, and assets freeze, on all persons or groups of individuals whose actions hinder all peace efforts in ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order”.

ECOWAS military chiefs met last week in Abuja and drew up plans for military intervention in Niger. But yesterday’s ECOWAS communique did not say when and how a military deployment could be triggered.

Speaking at the end of the summit, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, ECOWAS Chairman, said that  “no option is taken off the table, including the use of force as a last resort.” (Photo: President Tinubu speaks at ECOWAS summit – 10 Aug 2023).

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting Niger in the journey towards peaceful democratic stability.”

“I hope that through our collective effort we can bring about a peaceful resolution as a roadmap to restoring stability and democracy in Niger. All is not lost yet,” Tinubu said.

The coup leaders in Niger said they will kill Bazoum if any attempt is made to restore him to power through military intervention.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called for the immediate release of Bazoum and his family, who are being held in the presidential palace with limited food, no electricity and water.

The African Union has said it supports ECOWAS’s decisions on Niger and called on the international community to save the life of President Mohamed Bazoum.

The EU criticises the worsening conditions of President Bazoum and calling for his immediate release.

US Secretary of State – Antony Blinken released a statement yesterday, calling for a peaceful solution to reverse Niger’s coup after ECOWAS agreed to send its standby force to Niger if President Bazoum is not released by Sunday.

“The United States joins the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in calling for the restoration of constitutional order in Niger. The United States appreciates the determination of ECOWAS to explore all options for the peaceful resolution of the crisis. Democracy is the best foundation for development, social cohesion, and stability in Niger. We stand with the Nigerien people in working toward these goals.

“We echo the ECOWAS condemnation of the illegal detention of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and members of the government, as well as the unacceptable conditions under which they are being held, and call for their immediate release. Like ECOWAS, the United States will hold the Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) accountable for the safety and security of President Bazoum, his family, and detained members of the government,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

1 Comment

  1. Indeed! To ignore history is to ignore the menacing wolf at the door, quietly waiting to pounce , rob, ransack and devour everything in its path; The wolf is here again, in Niger and the timid ewe lambs and fragile chickens are now at its mercy…totally subdued; And the creature is dressed in military outfits…hell-bent on seizing and holding on to political power; I am totally in support of safeguarding any forms of peace and stability in Niger and also our little country…but the coup plotters in the Niger Republic and Julius Maada Bio must ready; Time and tide waits for no man.
    Now these villainous individuals are threatening to kill the President of Niger after they illegally overthrew him from power…an office that he was legitimately elected into by the people of Niger. ECOWAS should continue to stand their ground, and remain steadfast in their demand to ultimately get President Bazoum reinstated into power; They wouldn’t even dare to kill the President…if they do, then it surely, will be an all out war…they would all be crushed to pieces like fruits in a juice blender; Yep, like wood being carefully burned to cinders, all of them would certainly become.
    But caution is the way of the wise…prudent minds do not make hasty decisions; The merciless eagle encircles it prey for hours before it finally decides to strike; I would advise ECOWAS to also do the same thing…exercise restraint, and explore other legitimate means of negotiations in order to achieve their goals…wait, wait and wait…when that fails…then strike with a precision, and ruthlessness never before seen.

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