The West African bloc ECOWAS stands ready to intervene militarily in Niger should diplomatic efforts to reverse a coup there fail, a senior official told army chiefs who were meeting in Ghana to discuss the details of a standby force.
According to international media reports, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Abdel-Fatau Musah accused the junta on Thursday that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 of “playing cat-and-mouse” with the bloc by refusing to meet with envoys and seeking justifications for the takeover.
“The military and the civilian forces of West Africa are ready to answer to the call of duty,” he told assembled chiefs of defence staff from member states.
He listed past ECOWAS deployments in Gambia, Liberia and elsewhere as examples of readiness.
“If push comes to shove we are going into Niger with our own contingents and equipment and our own resources to make sure we restore constitutional order. If other democratic partners want to support us they are welcome,” he said.
Musah strongly criticised the junta’s announcement that it had elements to put Bazoum, who is being detained, on trial for treason. The United Nations, European Union and ECOWAS have all expressed concerns over the conditions of his detention.
“The irony of it is that somebody who is in a hostage situation himself is being charged with treason. When did he commit high treason is everybody’s guess,” Musah said.
POST AUTHOR: firstname.lastname@example.org (Web Desk)