A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) failed to secure the return to power of Niger’s elected government during their visit to the capital, Niamey.
Meanwhile, the military junta in Niger has taken a significant step by breaking military cooperation with France, the former colonial power.
This has escalated tensions in the region, leading to concerns about possible military intervention to restore the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
ECOWAS Delegation’s Efforts and Junta’s Response:
The ECOWAS delegation, led by regional powerhouse Nigeria, attempted to meet with coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani and detained President Mohamed Bazoum.
However, the delegation did not spend the scheduled night in Niamey and could not meet with the key figures.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu expressed the bloc’s commitment to resolving the crisis amicably, but military intervention remains an option if the situation does not improve.
In response, Niger’s junta warned of forceful retaliation against any aggression.
Regional Military Chiefs Discussing Intervention:
As tensions mount, regional military chiefs have convened in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to discuss the possibility of military intervention in Niger.
However, neighboring countries Burkina Faso and Mali, which have also experienced military coups, warned against such action, considering it a “declaration of war.”
Niger’s Appeal for International Support:
President Bazoum, still under the custody of the coup plotters, urged the international community, including the US government, to assist in restoring Niger’s constitutional order.
The ongoing nationwide protests in support of the coup leaders and the growing anti-French sentiment in the region have complicated the situation.
Escalating Tensions with France:
As a sign of their displeasure with France, the junta announced the termination of military pacts between Niger and France.
The decision was attributed to France’s perceived careless attitude and reaction to the current situation.
The junta also recalled ambassadors from four capitals, including Paris.
Impact on Regional Stability:
Niger has played a vital role in the fight against the jihadist insurgency in the Sahel since 2012, with France and the United States stationing troops in the country.
However, with the recent developments and rising anti-French sentiment, the situation in the region has become increasingly complex.
The situation in Niger remains tense as efforts to restore the elected government have so far been unsuccessful.
The junta’s actions, including severing ties with France and warning against military intervention, have heightened concerns about regional stability.
The international community’s response and further developments will play a crucial role in resolving the crisis and restoring peace in Niger and the Sahel region.