Niger Coup Leaders Threaten To Kill Bazoum as West African Nations Ready Troop Deployment for Democracy Restoration

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Niger Coup Leaders Threaten To Kill Bazoum as West African Nations Ready Troop Deployment for Democracy Restoration

Tensions escalate as Niger’s new military regime clashes with West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, over the restoration of democracy in the nation. Following the expiration of ECOWAS’s deadline for the reinstatement of ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, the bloc announced its directive for a “standby force” to bring back constitutional order to Niger.

In a concerning development, sources reveal that the junta, led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, has reportedly conveyed a threat to kill Bazoum should neighboring nations attempt a military intervention to reinstate him. This threat adds a grim dimension to the already volatile situation, sparking worries about the safety and stability of the region.

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While details about the deployment of the regional force remain uncertain, conflict experts anticipate a contingent of around 5,000 troops, possibly led by Nigeria, to be ready within weeks. Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara has pledged participation in the military operation alongside Nigeria and Benin, emphasizing the aim of restoring peace and stability to the sub-region.

Niger, previously seen as a critical partner for Western nations in countering a jihadi insurgency linked to extremist groups, has been marred by the recent coup. Both France and the United States have a significant military presence in Niger, and concerns loom over the impact of the crisis on counter-terrorism efforts in the region.

READ ALSO: Crisis in Niger: ECOWAS Authorizes Immediate Standby Force Deployment

The international community’s response has been mixed. France’s foreign ministry expressed support for ECOWAS’s conclusions, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken appreciated ECOWAS’s efforts for a peaceful resolution but did not explicitly endorse troop deployment. The junta’s firm grip on power, refusal to release President Bazoum, and the threat to his life pose challenging dilemmas for regional and global leaders.

As the situation unfolds, the plight of Nigeriens worsens. Economic and travel sanctions imposed by ECOWAS have exacerbated existing humanitarian challenges, hindering the movement of goods and aid. Humanitarian agencies struggle to provide assistance due to restrictions on transportation and access to supplies, creating an urgent need for intervention.

The threat against President Bazoum’s life adds an alarming layer to an already complex crisis. ECOWAS’s planned intervention faces unprecedented challenges in a country of Niger’s size and population. While the region teeters between dialogue and military action, the need for a swift and effective resolution grows more pressing, with the hopes of restoring democracy and stability to Niger and the wider sub-region.

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