Niger Republic’s coup leaders have disclosed to a top United States diplomat that they would kill deposed President Mohamed Bazoum if neighbouring countries attempted any military intervention to restore his rule, two Western officials told The Associated Press.
Daily Mail reports that a Western military official said, while speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the representatives of the junta told the U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country this week.
Another U.S. official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed the account.
Bazoum, who was deposed on July 26, says he is being held hostage at his residence.
The ousted leader earlier disclosed that he was eating dry rice and pasta.
The regional ECOWAS bloc said Thursday it had directed the deployment of a “standby force” to restore democracy in Niger after the coup. However, it gave no details about the make-up, location and proposed date of deployment for any military intervention force.
Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, had on Thursday described the ongoing political crisis in Niger Republic as a threat to the stability of other Western African countries.
Tinubu mentioned this in his speech at the extraordinary meeting of ECOWAS leaders over the recent military coup in Niger Republic held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The presidents of ECOWAS nations at the summit discussed events in Niger Republic following the July 26 coup that deposed Bazoum.
The regional body met in Abuja a few days ago and issued a seven-day deadline for the Niger junta to reinstate ousted President Bazoum or risk sanctions, including possible military intervention.
ECOWAS ordered the junta in Niger to reverse their action and reinstate the democratically-elected President. It gave the military junta a seven-day ultimatum to vacate the seat of power and hand over to the sacked President, Bazoum but the ultimatum expired on Sunday with no reaction from the military junta.
Tinubu has therefore urged ECOWAS leaders that the union should prioritise diplomacy in settling the political crisis in Niger.
He said, “More specifically, as leaders of our respective nations, we must recognize that the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region.
” By remaining steadfast in our adherence to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we can restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the Republic of Niger, thereby fostering an environment conducive to growth and development for all”.