Representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) arrived in Niamey on Saturday, where they want to mediate with the country’s ruling junta after a coup overthrew democratically elected authorities. The envoys intend to meet with the imprisoned democratic president. Meanwhile, the French daily Le Monde reported that the close circle of the deposed Mohamed Bazoum asked France for a military intervention to end the coup.
In late July, the Nigerien military junta overthrew democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, an ally of Western nations and a key figure in fighting jihadist forces in the Sahel. General Abdurrahman Tchiani declared himself the new leader of the country.
The ECOWAS delegation wants mediation
Saturday to Niamey, the capital Nigera delegation of West African states arrived to attempt a new diplomatic mediation with the military government.
A plane carrying emissaries from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) arrived in Niamey in the early afternoon, AFP reported. The delegation is headed by the former leader of Niger Abdulsalami Abubakar.
According to a source close to ECOWAS, cited by AFP, the delegation intends to convey its “firm position” to the military and meet with President Mohamed Bazoum, who is imprisoned until July 26 until now.
ECOWAS Commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah announced on Friday that the bloc has already marked the day for a possible military intervention in Niger and is ready to act if ordered to do so.
Media: France got a request to intervene
Meanwhile – as the French daily “Le Monde” wrote, citing sources – the close environment of the overthrown Bazoum asked France for military intervention to end the coup.
A person close to Bazoum said that the interim head of state – acting on the side of opponents of the coup – replacing the imprisoned president, Hassoumi Massaoudou, asked Paris for support in crushing military rebellions.
Le Monde claims that French soldiers arrived at the headquarters of the Niger National Guard in the early morning of July 27, saying they had combat vehicles and helicopters ready for action. The intervention was reportedly blocked by Bazoum himself, who was supposed to contact the command of French forces in Niger.
Bazoum hoped for a peaceful solution – adds the source of “Le Monde”. “Between the time when the request was made and the moment when the French were able to intervene, some people who had been loyal to Bazoum had sided with the putschists,” notes the daily.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/CHRISTIAN THOMPSON