NIAMEY-West Africa’s regional bloc said Saturday its military chiefs have agreed a plan for a possible intervention in Niger, after the junta failed to restore civilian rule there following last week’s coup. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday gave the junta that toppled elected president Mohamed Bazoum in a July 26 coup one week to reinstate him or face the potential use of force. Military chiefs from the grouping were meeting in Nigeria’s capital Abuja to discuss ways to respond to the crisis, the latest of several coups to hit Africa’s Sahel region since 2020. “All elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out,” ECOWAS commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah said after the talks finished. These included “the resources needed, and including the how and when we are going to deploy the force”, he added. “We want diplomacy to work, and we want this message clearly transmitted to them (the junta) that we are giving them every opportunity to reverse what they have done,” Musah said. An ECOWAS delegation arrived in Niger’s capital Niamey on Thursday but did not stay overnight as scheduled. It did not meet with Bazoum or coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani, a delegation member said on Friday.
In a deepening of the crisis, the junta announced earlier on Friday it was scrapping military pacts between Niger and France, citing the former colonial ruler’s “careless attitude and its reaction to the situation”.