development regarding the political situation in Niger, tensions have escalated as Burkina Faso and Mali have issued a strong warning to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against any military intervention in Niger to restore deposed President Mohamed Bazoum. Both Burkina Faso and Mali, countries currently ruled by military regimes, perceive any such intervention as a “declaration of war against their two countries.”
This warning from Burkina Faso and Mali comes on the heels of a decision by West African leaders, backed by their Western allies, to threaten the use of “force” to reinstate President Bazoum, who was democratically elected. Additionally, ECOWAS has imposed financial sanctions on the Nigerien government, freezing all commercial and financial transactions between its member states and Niger, a nation struggling with significant economic challenges as one of the world’s poorest countries.
During an emergency summit on July 30, ECOWAS demanded the reinstatement of President Bazoum within a week and warned that if this demand is not met, it would take “all measures” to restore constitutional order, including the possibility of military intervention.
The joint statement issued by Burkina Faso and Mali highlights their concerns about the potential consequences of military intervention in Niger. They argue that such a move could have disastrous consequences, leading to destabilization not only in Niger but also across the entire region.
Furthermore, Burkina Faso and Mali expressed their rejection of the “illegal, illegitimate, and inhumane sanctions” imposed on the people and authorities of Niger, making it clear that they will not support or apply these sanctions.
The situation in Niger has also garnered attention from other international actors. Russia, through its Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Alexei Shebarshin, has voiced opposition to any military solution in the Niger crisis. Russia emphasizes that the people of Niger should independently solve their problems in a constitutional manner without resorting to force or threats of force.
French President Emmanuel Macron has also issued a stern warning, vowing “immediate and uncompromising” action if French citizens or interests are attacked in the unfolding crisis. Thousands of protesters rallied outside the French embassy in Niamey, and attempts to enter the compound were dispersed by tear gas.
Mohamed Bazoum, who assumed power just over two years ago, was a significant ally to France, the US, and the EU. His election marked Niger’s first peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from France in 1960. However, his presidency was toppled on July 26 by the elite Presidential Guard, leading to the current political unrest.
This complex and volatile situation in Niger has drawn attention from regional and global players, each with their own interests and concerns about how events will unfold. The prospect of military intervention has generated tension and anxiety, with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Russia advocating for a peaceful, constitutional resolution, while ECOWAS and its Western partners seek to restore democratic order in Niger. The coming days will undoubtedly be critical in determining the trajectory of the crisis and its potential impact on regional stability.