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August 17, 2023 12:02 PM IST

West African military chiefs to discuss Niger crisis in Ghana

Niger coup | ECOWAS | West African military chiefs | Niger political crisis | West Africa

Military leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are scheduled to meet in Ghana’s capital Accra on Thursday, August 17 and on Friday. According to the a report from Reuters, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss and prepare for a possible military intervention in Niger, which the main regional bloc has threatened to launch if Niger’s junta leaders fail to peacefully negotiate a return to constitutional order.

Lately, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has gained significant global attention for its proactive role in dealing with the aftermath of the coup in Niger. The member states of ECOWAS include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. ECOWAS has the support of Central Africa’s regional bloc ECCAS in efforts to overturn Niger’s coup and restore constitutional order, Nigerian President and ECOWAS Chairman Bola Tinubu said on Tuesday, August 15.

On July 26, the military in Niger detained the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum. Subsequently, they appointed Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former head of the country’s presidential guard, to lead the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland. This governing entity was established by the military junta following the coup and has since taken on responsibilities for both legislative and executive functions.

Both Western powers and democratic African governments have urged the coup leaders to restore the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum. However, after multiple denials and dismissal to make any efforts for negotiation, the Niger’s junta on August 15 said that it was open for talks to resolve the regional crisis, while Russia and the United States called for a peaceful resolution.

“We are in a process of transition. We have explained the ins and outs, reiterated our willingness to remain open and to talk to all parties, but we have insisted on the need for the country to be independent,” said Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, who was appointed prime minister by the military last week.

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