Conflicts & War

Ecowas military leaders accuse Niger junta of playing “cat and mouse”

(Update: adds more Musah remarks)

Accra, Aug 17 (EFE).- Defense leaders from the Economic Community of West African States on Thursday accused the junta that led a coup in Niger last month of acting in bad faith and said that most of the bloc’s members were prepared to intervene militarily.

Ecowas military leaders were meeting for the second time since the junta detained the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum and suspended the country’s constitution on July 26.

“The junta is playing cat and mouse with Ecowas,” the bloc’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musah, said during the opening of the meeting in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

“They should remember that they have disobeyed the Constitution of their country, as well as the instruments of Ecowas, especially the Protocol for Good Governance, which speaks of zero tolerance for military coups,” he added.

The meeting in Accra comes after the heads of state and government of Ecowas – a bloc made up of 15 countries – on August 10 ordered the organization’s “standby force” to be activated, although they also said they still hope dialogue can resolve the crisis.

The chiefs of staff of Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo, Benin, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia were participating in the meeting, while their counterparts from Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau were not able to attend.

Niger was not represented, nor were Burkina Faso, Mali or Guinea, all of which are under military rule after coups between 2020 and 2022.

In remarks to journalists at the end of the meeting, Musah said that all Ecowas members “except those under military rule” were prepared for a military intervention if needed.

The Accra meeting is the second of its kind since the coup, after the one in early August in the Nigerian capital Abuja where they began to draw up a plan for a potential intervention to “restore constitutional order” in Niger.

The junta in Niamey has so far ignored the threats and, in addition to appointing a new prime minister, forming a transitional government, reinforcing its military apparatus and closing its airspace, has warned that any use of force will be met with an “instantaneous” and “energetic” response.

The coup d’état in Niger was led on July 26 by the self-styled National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland (CNSP), which announced the dismissal of President Mohamed Bazoum and the suspension of the Constitution. EFE


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