Title: ECOWAS Members Poised to Intervene in Niger Following Coup
Word Count: 352
Most member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are gearing up to participate in a standby force that could intervene in Niger following a recent coup. Defence chiefs from the 15-member regional bloc convened in Accra to discuss the situation in Niger and efforts to overturn the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum.
According to ECOWAS Commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah, all member states, except those under military rule and Cape Verde, are ready to contribute to the standby force. The meeting comes after a deadline for mutinous soldiers to release and reinstate President Bazoum passed without any action.
During the meeting, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Gwabin Musa, stressed the significance of democracy and peace. The stance underlined the commitment of ECOWAS in upholding democratic values and stability in the region.
However, ECOWAS faces internal divisions and external challenges in its quest for intervention. The organization has deliberated on the use of force as a last resort, reflecting internal disagreements and mediation attempts within Niger. Burkina Faso and Mali have voiced concerns that military intervention in Niger could be construed as an act of war, indicating a rift between coastal countries and those in the volatile Sahel region.
Meanwhile, Guinea, also under military rule, has opted to refrain from making specific comments on the issue. The African Union’s Peace and Security Council held a meeting to consider supporting military intervention but has not yet announced its decision. If the AU deems the military intervention a threat to continental stability, it could overrule ECOWAS, leaving the regional bloc with limited legal grounds for intervention if rejected.
With tensions mounting and the situation in Niger becoming increasingly precarious, ECOWAS faces a critical juncture in its response to the coup. The decisions made by both the regional bloc and the African Union will have substantial implications not only for Niger but also for the wider stability of the sub-region.
As ECOWAS member states prepare to engage in a standby force, it remains to be seen how events will unfold and whether the regional bloc’s intervention will be deemed necessary to restore democracy and safeguard peace in Niger.
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