New Telegraph

Ecowas Intervention: Mali, Burkina Faso Deploy Fighter Jets To Niger

The military governments in Mali and Burkina Faso have reportedly dispatched warplanes to the Republic of Niger in a show of solidarity against possible military intervention by the Standby Force of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in that country.

The deployment of war-planes within Niger’s borders took place on Friday and it was in keeping with an earlier threat by Mali and Burkina Faso to respond in solidarity if ECOWAS decided to attack the Republic of Niger.

A report aired on Niger’s state television indicated that, “Mali and Burkina Faso turned their commit into concrete action by deploying warplanes to respond to any attack on Niger.

According to TRT World, an online news platform, both countries sent an unspecified number of Super Tucano fighter jets to the embattled country. During a meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence staff in Ghana, on Friday, the regional bloc reiterated its resolve to deploying troops in the conflict zone but did not disclose the date of the impending military intervention in Niger.

Burkina Faso and Mali, both under military leadership, previously released a statement of support for Niger against the planned ECOWAS military operation to alter the course of the coup in Niger. The statement warned that any intervention would be seen as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali.

General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself last month the head of a transitional government after President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted by a military coup. In the meantime, a volunteer militia force comprised of civilians is also being organised in Niger in response to the potential ECOWAS military intervention.

Recruitment for a civilian militia force called the Volunteers for the Defence of Niger (VDN) will commence Saturday in the national capital of Niamey. Volunteers interested in joining VDN would gather at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium where anyone older than 18 can register.

Similar efforts are also set along the borders of Nigeria and Benin The militias will assist the military in various capacities, including armed combat as well as medical care, logistics, technical and engineering support when needed by the military administration. A similar militia group with the same name ex- ists in Burkina Faso, offering support to the army in counterterrorism efforts.

However, the United States has reiterated its support for the Economic Community of West African States ( ECOWAS) on the possible deployment of troops to flush out the military junta that toppled the democratically elected government in the Republic of Niger.

Principal Deputy Spokesperson, US State Department, Mr Vedant Patel, who stated this at a digital press briefing facilitated by the African Regional Media Hub, however said that the use of force will be explored only if ongoing peaceful initiatives failed and the coupists remained adamant.

“We support what ECOWAS is doing, and this is the moment to continue to focus intensively on diplomacy, which ECOWAS has also stated that continues to be their priority, and that any kind of military intervention is a last resort. So, we’re focused on finding a diplomatic solution and we’re working in close contact with ECOWAS, but I am certainly not going to get ahead of this or go into hypotheticals.

“What we have said is that we want to find a diplomatic solution to this. This is something that ECOWAS and other regional partners share as well, and it’s something that we’re going to continue to work in close coordination with ECOWAS,, with the Afri- can Union and others” he said.

In recent days, the Authority of Heads of States of ECOWAS had been engaged in a lot of tough rhetoric about their commitment to a military intervention if things don’t change in Niger. There are some concerns about this posture, giving rise to a heightened crisis that could spill over to a regional conflict.

According to Patel, the safety and well-being of President Mohammed Ba- zoum and his family has been an area of immense concern to the US since the coup took place, adding that force may become necessary if the junta continues to disregard the warnings of ECOWAS and other stakeholders in the subregion.

He disclosed that that the US government had made it very clear to the CNSP, that the safety and well-being of President Bazoum and his family remained the responsibility of the junta. “It’s something that we are continuing to pay close attention to, and we’ll hold appropriate actors involved accountable should that – should that change.

On top of that, though, we continue to maintain our strong desire for seeking a diplomatic solution that we believe and that we hope will respect the constitutional order in Niger,” he said.

Patel said that the US has remained deeply engaged in the efforts to resolve the crisis since the coup took place on July 26, 2023. Meanwhile, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have met to discuss a joint defence strategy in response to the announcement by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS military intervention in the coup.

Military staff of the three countries met in the Nigerien capital Niamey to decide on “concrete measures” in case ECOWAS chooses to “escalate a war,” according to local media reports yesterday.

Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger have all been under military rule since coups in their respective countries and had therefore been kicked out of ECOWAS. ECOWAS declared on Friday, that its forces were ready to intervene in Niger “once the order is given,” following the shock coup that took place just over three weeks ago. A specific date for an intervention was not released.

All options, including a diplomatic solution, remain on the table, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musah, said. Military chiefs from nine out of the 15-member countries deliberated during a two-day meeting in Ghana’s capital, Accra. An ECOWAS mission would initially travel to Niger, according to Musah. If this fails, the regional bloc would resort to a military solution to restore constitutional order in Niger.

A date for a potential military action has already been set, but cannot be disclosed publicly, the ECOWAS commissioner said. All member states, except those ruled by the military, as well as Cape Verde, have reportedly agreed to participate.

Read Previous

Nigeria Lost 165,000 BPD From Jan To May 2023 –Report

Read Next

England Targets Women’s World Cup Glory Against Spain