Amidst the conflict in Niger involving France and coup attempts in the region, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) plans to intervene militarily in Niger to remove the military rulers due to the coups that occurred in July, reports AFP.
Hassane Ouattara, the President of Ivory Coast, made this announcement on August 10th, 2023 which represents a U-turn on earlier plans.
On, 2 August 2023 , the regional grouping for West Africa declared that a military intervention in junta-ruled Niger was “the last resort” as Nigeria stopped electricity to put more pressure on the coup leaders there. General Abdourahamane Tiani, the coup leader, said there was no need for the country’s population to leave even as former colonial power France dispatched a fifth plane to evacuate its citizens, Le Monde menetioned.
However, it would seem that France has had a hand in the change of policy among these largely francophonie African states.
Adding to this possibly intervention, “France supports with firmness and determination the efforts of ECOWAS to defeat this coup attempt,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement after Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna met Niger Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou in Paris, according to France 24.
In the same context and According to Ouattara, additional nations would join the Nigerian, Beninese, and 850–1100 man battalion that the Ivory Coast would offer.
“We are determined to restore president Bazoum to his functions,” he declared.
ECOWAS has already intervened in numerous coups in African continent such as in Liberia, in Sierra Leone, in the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau” when constitutional order in the countries was threatened, Ouattara said.
Besides the French support to ECOWAS intervention in Niger, USA joined the foreign support as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced support for efforts of the West African bloc ECOWAS on Niger without explicitly backing its call at a summit for military intervention.
We wholeheartedly endorse ECOWAS’ leadership and work on this, he added. “ECOWAS, an organisation that unites West African countries, is playing a critical role in making plain the urgency of a restoration to constitutional order.