‘D-Day’ set for possible military intervention in Niger: ECOWAS

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West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS on Friday said it had agreed to an undisclosed ‘D-Day’ for possible military intervention to restore democracy in Niger, if diplomatic efforts fail.

The news came at the end of a two-day meeting between West African army chiefs in Accra, Ghana where strategies around a possible use of force in Niger were discussed.

ECOWAS has said such action would be a last resort.

Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security: “All member states of ECOWAS present committed elements. They committed their own equipment. They have committed their own resources to undertake this mission. So, I tell you, we are ready to go, any time the order is given. The D-Day is also decided.”

Musah said a peaceful resolution remained the preferred option but stressed that the bloc would not engage in endless dialogue with the junta.

ECOWAS has taken a harder stance on the Niger coup than in previous ones.

“It’s the wider region’s seventh in three years… and the credibility of the bloc is at stake as it had said it would not tolerate any further overthrows. We want to get back to constitutional normalcy, and the decision is that the coup in Niger is one coup too many for the region, and we are putting a stop to it at this time. We are drawing a line in the sand, and that is it.”

Military officers removed Niger President Mohamed Bazoum three weeks ago and have defied calls from the United Nations, ECOWAS and other groups to reinstate him.

Any kind of intervention could mean further turmoil for West Africa’s impoverished Sahel region, which is already battling a decade-old insurgency and a deepening hunger crisis.

VIDEO: Prof Everisto Benyera analyses the Niger coup, instability in Francophone countries: