Troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have expressed their readiness to form a standby force that could potentially intervene in the Republic of Niger.
Following the coup that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, ECOWAS issued a seven-day ultimatum to the military, demanding the restoration of the president or facing sanctions, which might include military action.
According to reports from Al Jazeera, the defense chiefs convened in Accra, Ghana, for a meeting on Thursday, where they indicated their willingness to reinstate democratic order in Niger.
The meeting in Accra involved top army commanders and took place on Thursday.
This gathering followed a recent surge of violence in Niger, wherein jihadists ambushed and killed at least 17 soldiers, causing significant casualties, including 20 wounded soldiers.
The Sahel region of Africa has been grappling with jihadist insurgencies for over a decade, originating in northern Mali in 2012 and subsequently spreading to neighboring countries like Niger and Burkina Faso by 2015.
This ongoing unrest has resulted in the loss of thousands of lives, including troops, police officers, civilians, and has forced millions to flee their homes. The region’s instability has also contributed to military coups in Mali and Burkina Faso since 2020, with Niger being the latest nation affected.
Although the prospect of an ECOWAS intervention against the coup leaders in Niger is fraught with military and political risks, the bloc has stated a preference for diplomatic resolutions over direct military actions.