The junta-led governments of Burkina Faso and Mali issued a joint warning on Monday, stating that any military intervention in Niger to restore deposed President Mohamed Bazoum would be regarded as a “declaration of war” against their two countries. This came in response to threats made by West African leaders, backed by Western partners, to use “force” to reinstate the democratically elected Bazoum and impose financial sanctions on the putschists.
The governments of Burkina Faso and Mali emphasized the potential disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger, warning that such action could destabilize the entire region. They also rejected the application of “illegal, illegitimate, and inhumane sanctions” against the people and authorities of Niger.
At an emergency summit on Sunday, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded the reinstatement of President Bazoum within a week, with the option of taking “all measures” to restore constitutional order, including the use of force if necessary. Additionally, ECOWAS imposed financial sanctions on the junta leaders and Niger, freezing all commercial and financial transactions between member states and the country.
Pressure from Western and African partners is mounting on the perpetrators of the July 26 coup to swiftly restore constitutional order in Niger. France and the United States, with 2,600 deployed soldiers in Niger, are part of the international efforts to combat jihadist groups that have caused havoc in the Sahel region for years.
Niger’s junta accused France of seeking to “intervene militarily” to reinstate Bazoum, a claim denied by French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna. However, Colonna stressed the importance of returning the president to power to prevent further destabilization in Niger and the surrounding regions.
Bazoum, a Western ally, was toppled by the elite Presidential Guard in July. The ECOWAS gave the junta leader a week to hand back power, and any delay could lead to further escalation and economic repercussions for Niger.
The ongoing coup situation in Niger is raising concerns in the international community, and diplomatic efforts are underway to resolve the crisis and restore constitutional order in the country. The fragile security situation in the Sahel region has been further strained by a series of coups and the jihadist insurgency, with neighboring countries experiencing similar upheavals. The situation remains closely monitored by the international community as it unfolds.