Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea distance from ECOWAS wielding intervention threat in Niger
Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea dealt a blow to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after they threw their support behind the junta in power in Niger despite the regional community’s threat for military intervention if deposed leader Mohamed Bazoum is not restored.
A group of soldiers seized power in Niger Wednesday July 26 after the presidential guard detained Bazoum who came to power in 2021 through disputed elections.
In reaction to the power seizure, leaders of the region over the weekend slapped economic sanctions on the country and threatened to intervene militarily, should the junta fail to free Bazoum after one week ultimatum.
The junta led by General Abdourahamane Tiani also indicated that France, a former colonial power, was planning to attack the presidential palace in view of freeing Bazoum.
Monday, Mali and Burkina Faso, all led by juntas, issued a joint statement indicating that any military intervention against Niger would mean a declaration of war.
“The interim governments of Burkina Faso and Mali… warn that any military intervention against Niger will amount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali”, the statement said.
Both countries also said they might withdraw from ECOWAS in the event of a military intervention by the regional bloc against neighboring Niger. “The transitional governments of Burkina Faso and Mali… warn that any military intervention against Niger could result in the withdrawal of Burkina Faso and Mali from ECOWAS and the adoption of legitimate defense measures in support of the Armed Forces and people of Niger”, the statement continued.
In addition to Mali and Burkina Faso’s veiled support for the coup, Guinea’s transitional power, CNRD, also led by a Junta, distanced itself from the ECOWAS arguing an intervention will directly lead to the disintegration of the regional bloc. The CNRD also slammed the sanctions and vowed not to implement them.
“At a time when the young populations of the ECOWAS region are experiencing human tragedy in Tunisia and the Mediterranean, the preoccupation of the sub-region’s leaders should be more focused on the strategic, socio-economic challenges of achieving their aspirations than on the fate of deposed Presidents”, a statement from CNRD said. The position of the three countries leaves the ECOWAS in a very bad situation. The regional grouping has not made any comment yet.