• Monday, December 11, 2023
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Niger: Russia cautions Ecowas against using force

EXPLAINER: What are West Africa’s options to reverse Niger’s coup?

After regional organisation Ecowas announced it would build a standby force, Russia issued a warning that military intervention in Niger would result in a “protracted confrontation”.
According to the Russian foreign ministry, such an operation would destabilise the Sahel region as a whole.

Officially, Russia does not support the coup.

However, the US, which supports efforts to reinstate ousted leader Mohamed Bazoum, claims that its Wagner mercenary organisation is profiting from the unrest.

Supporters of the coup demonstrated on Friday at a French military post close to the city Niamey as some waved Russian flags and chanted “down with France, down with Ecowas.”

In Niger, military outposts operated by the US and France have been used to start operations against Islamist groups elsewhere in the area.

According to reports, military representatives from Ecowas nations will meet on Saturday to develop plans for a military intervention.

However, Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu declared on Thursday that “no option is taken off the table, including the use of force as a last resort.” The bloc has stated that it is still open to finding a diplomatic solution to the problem.

The US has urged the junta to step down and allow the restoration of the nation’s democratic constitution without expressly endorsing military intervention.

The most recent declarations from Ecowas leaders have received no response from the Niger junta.

Fears are mounting for Mr. Bazoum’s health and safety as he is being held captive since the military overthrew the government on July 26.

Read also: West Africa army chiefs to meet in coming days to discuss Niger plans – spokesman

Josep Borrell, the head of the EU’s foreign policy, claimed that she and his family had been “deprived of food, electricity, and medical care for several days.”

Volker Turk, the UN’s commissioner for human rights, stated that he had reliable information that the custody conditions “could amount to inhuman and degrading treatment”.

According to the rights organisation Human Rights Watch, Mr. Bazoum informed them last week that he and his family were subjected to “inhuman and cruel” treatment.

According to Bazoum, “My son is sick, has a serious heart condition, and needs to see a doctor,” he told them, according to HRW.