The Economic Community of West African Countries has set a day for a possible military intervention in Niger and is awaiting the order, ECOWAS Secretary Abdel-Fatau Musah said on Friday. Niger is ruled by a junta that overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in July.
– We are ready to enter (to Niger – ed.) at any time when an order is issued. The D-Day of military intervention has already been fixed, but we cannot reveal when that will be. We have already agreed and refined what will be required for the intervention – said Musah after the end of a two-day meeting of the commanders of the armies of the organization’s countries in the capital Ghana Accra, during which the details of possible actions against the junta in Niger were discussed.
– The military option is not our preferred option, but we are obliged to do so due to the impossibility of reaching an agreement with the Nigerien junta. We cannot have an endless dialogue,” Musah said. He assured that any intervention in Niger would be “short-term” and its aim would be to restore constitutional order in the country.
“We haven’t closed any doors”
However, the Commissioner pointed out that ECOWAS continued to pursue a peaceful solution to the Niger crisis. “At the moment we are still preparing to send a mediation mission to this country, so we have not closed any doors,” he said.
Musah already said on Thursday that countries belonging to the ECOWAS bloc are ready to participate in the forces that could intervene in Niger “if other means fail.”
Putsch in Niger
In late July, the Nigerien military junta overthrew democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, a Western ally and a key figure in fighting jihadist forces in the Sahel. General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself the new leader of the country.
The putschists announced that the former president would be tried, and placed Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, a member of the Nigerian government overthrown in 2010, at the head of the government.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/CHRISTIAN THOMPSON