ECOWAS orders to activate standby force to 'restore constitutional order' in Niger

ECOWAS orders to activate standby force to 'restore constitutional order' in Niger

President of West African bloc Omar Alieu Touray holds press briefing after emergency meeting in Abuja

By Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu

KANO, Nigeria (AA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday ordered to activate its standby force in order to "restore constitutional order" in coup-hit Niger.

In a press briefing after the second emergency meeting on the situation in Niger in Abuja, ECOWAS President Omar Alieu Touray directed the committee of the chief of defense staff to "activate the ECOWAS standby force will all its elements immediately."

The bloc reiterated its "strong condemnation" of the July 26 coup by presidential guards and "continued illegal detention" of ousted President Mohammed Bazoum, his family, and members of his government.

He said ECOWAS underscored the determination "to keep all options on the table for the peaceful resolution of the crisis."

The organization also decided to keep enforcing all measures, in particular border closures and strict travel bans and assets freeze on all persons or groups of individuals whose actions “hinder all peaceful efforts aimed at ensuring the smooth and complete restoration of constitutional order” in the republic.

Earlier, ECOWAS chairman Bola Tinubu said the ongoing political crisis in Niger was a threat to the stability of Nigeria and other West African countries.

Present at the summit were presidents of Guinea Bissau, Senegal, Cote ‘d’ Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, Sierra Leone, and Togo, while Liberia and the Gambia were represented by their foreign ministers.​​​​​​​

The US, France and others have expressed support for the efforts of ECOWAS in resolving the crisis.

Niger’s military junta announced a new government on Thursday, naming Ali Lamine Zeine as prime minister with a 21-member Cabinet.

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