This possible mission of the Community of West African States aims to “continue to follow the peaceful path to restore constitutional order”, according to the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security of the regional organization, Abdel-Fatau Musah.
But the question of his reception in Niamey remains open, the previous ECOWAS delegations having always failed to meet Niger’s new strongman, Abdourahamane Tiani, like the ousted president in the July 26 coup, Mohamed Bazoum.
According to a source close to the West African organization, this delegation wishes to send “a message of firmness” to the soldiers in Niamey and meet President Bazoum, who is still being held prisoner.
On Friday, Niger’s military-appointed prime minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine met with a UN delegation led by Leonardo Santos Simão, the secretary-general’s special representative for West Africa and the Sahel. .
“We must first listen to the authorities, their point of view to study together a path so that the country returns as quickly as possible to normalcy and constitutional legality. We are convinced that this is always possible through dialogue”, declared Mr. Simão at the end of this meeting.
“Ready to intervene”
Alongside these diplomatic initiatives, ECOWAS announced on Friday evening that it was ready to engage in armed intervention to restore constitutional order in Niger.
“We are ready to intervene as soon as the order is given. The day of the intervention has also been set,” Musah said after a two-day meeting of West African chiefs of staff in Accra.
According to him, during this meeting were agreed “the strategic objectives, the necessary equipment and the commitment of the Member States” for this possible intervention.
This military option has been brandished by ECOWAS for several weeks. On August 10, West African leaders had ordered the deployment of a “standby force”, the outlines of which were drawn on Friday in Accra.
Neither the terms nor a possible timetable have however been made public.
In Niamey, the new regime remains inflexible and has asserted that armed intervention would be an “illegal and senseless aggression”.
Saturday morning, thousands of volunteers gathered near the Seyni Kountché stadium in the city center of the capital, responding to a call from several organizations to be registered on lists as civilian auxiliaries potentially mobilized in support armed forces, noted AFP journalists.
More than three weeks after the coup, the conditions of detention of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum are worrying the international community.
According to the President of Nigeria Bola Tinubu these are “deteriorating”.
“Any further deterioration in his state of health will have serious consequences,” he warned in an interview with European Council President Charles Michel, according to remarks reported Friday by an EU official.
In an interview with the New York Times, the new Prime Minister of Niger for his part assured Friday evening that “nothing will happen” to Mr. Bazoum.
This article is originally published on lanouvellerepublique.fr