Oliver Thompson
Fri, Aug 25, 2023 6:15 PM

ECOWAS Urges Niger's Coup Leaders to Reconsider, Military Force Still an Option

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ECOWAS Urges Niger's Coup Leaders to Reconsider, Military Force Still an Option
West Africa's bloc ECOWAS has urged Niger's coup leaders to reconsider their position as they negotiate a return to civilian rule. The generals behind the coup have called for a three-year transition period, while ECOWAS demands an immediate return to constitutional order. If negotiations fail, ECOWAS is prepared to use military force to restore democracy. This coup has heightened tensions in the Sahel region, where other governments have fallen to military rebellions, and jihadists hold significant control. ECOWAS leaders are also negotiating with military administrations in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, who have undergone coups and are working towards transitions to democracy.

The recent coup in Niger led by the military has raised concerns within the West African bloc ECOWAS. The ECOWAS leaders have made it clear that they cannot accept another coup in the region and have imposed sanctions on Niger's new regime as a result. Despite these measures, negotiations with the military administration remain a priority for ECOWAS.

The coup leaders have called for a three-year transition period, while ECOWAS insists on an immediate return to constitutional order. As talks continue, ECOWAS defence chiefs are preparing a standby mission in case military force is required to restore democracy.

Since 2020, four governments in the Sahel region have fallen to military rebellions, amplifying the concerns over the fragile state of democracy and the rise of jihadist groups in the region.

Niger's new rulers have expressed their willingness to negotiate, but their mixed messages have created confusion. They have even threatened to charge the ousted President, Mohamed Bazoum, with treason. Currently, Bazoum remains in detention with his family at the official residence.

ECOWAS has been engaged in negotiations with military administrations in other countries of the region, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, all of which have witnessed coups but are now working towards transitions to democracy. ECOWAS aims to halt the recurring trend of coups and establish stability.

In response to this crisis, ECOWAS commission president Omar Alieu Touray addressed the media in Abuja, stating, "Even now, it is not too late for the military to reconsider its action and listen to the voice of reason as the regional leaders will not condone a coup d'état. The real issue is the determination of the community to halt the spiral of coups in the region."

The Niger coup has evoked discussions around the potential use of military force by ECOWAS to restore democracy, a measure already applied in past crises in the region. However, the details of the standby force remain undisclosed. The idea of military intervention has sparked political resistance in northern Nigeria, a significant player in ECOWAS and the region.

Neighboring Algeria has also expressed concern about the potential disastrous consequences of an intervention. Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf has actively sought peaceful solutions to the crisis during his West African tour, opposing any military option.

ECOWAS emphasizes that its approach to the situation is focused on finding a political solution, but it firmly asserts that military force remains an option if peaceful negotiations fail. The bloc is determined to restore democracy and stability in Niger and prevent further coup attempts within the region.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-08-25 News

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