The West African bloc agrees to activate standby force as a last resort if diplomatic efforts fail after coup in Niger.
West Africa’s main bloc has agreed on a “D-day” for possible military intervention to restore democracy in Niger after generals toppled and detained President Mohamed Bazoum last month.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed on Friday to activate a standby force as a last resort if diplomatic efforts fail, a senior official said without disclosing when that is.
list of 4 items
end of list
“We are ready to go anytime the order is given,” ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Abdel-Fatau Musah said during the closing ceremony of a two-day meeting of West African army chiefs in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
“The D-day is also decided. We’ve already agreed and fine-tuned what will be required for the intervention,” he said, emphasising that ECOWAS was still seeking to engage peacefully with Niger’s military leaders.
“As we speak, we are still readying [a] mediation mission into the country, so we have not shut any door.”
The defence chiefs met to fine-tune details of the potential military operation to restore Bazoum if ongoing negotiations with the coup leaders fail.
“Let no one be in doubt that if everything else fails, the valiant forces of West Africa, both the military and the civilian components, are ready to answer to the call of duty,” Musah said.
Military officers deposed Bazoum on July 26 and have defied calls from the United Nations, ECOWAS and others to reinstate him.
Most of ECOWAS’s 15 member states are prepared to contribute to the joint force, except Cape Verde and those also under military rule – Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea – a bloc official said on Thursday.