ECOWAS ready to intervene in Niger militarily if all else fails: Official

ECOWAS ready to intervene in Niger militarily if all else fails: Official

West African army chiefs meet in Accra, Ghana to discuss possible steps to reverse military take over

By Hassan Isilow and Ibrahim Garba Shuaibu

KANO, Nigeria / JOHANNESBUG (AA) - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is ready to intervene militarily in coup-hit Niger if diplomatic means to restore constitutional order fail, an official said on Thursday.

“Let no one be in doubt that if everything else fails, the various forces of West Africa – both the military and civilian component – are ready to answer to the call of duty,’’ ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Abdel-Fatau Musah told a meeting of regional military chiefs in Accra, Ghana.

He said the military administration in Niger said it is ready for talks, but is still seeking reasons to justify the unjustifiable coup d’état.

The meeting comes a week after the leaders of the West African bloc met in the Nigerian capital of Abuja and ordered for the activation of a standby force to intervene in Niger to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The 15-country regional bloc said it would continue exploring diplomatic approach to convince the military administration to reverse its measures, and intervention would be the last option.

It also resolved to sustain sanctions against Niger until Bazoum is reinstated. The US, France, and the majority of African nations have expressed support for ECOWAS’s efforts in resolving the crisis.

Bazoum was ousted on July 26 in a military intervention led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger's presidential guard, and has since been held hostage at the presidential palace in the capital Niamey.

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