Mali and Burkina have threatened to withdraw their ECOWAS membership and rise up in support of Niger’s military government should the West African bloc invade the country.
The two countries where soldiers had recently ceased power expressed their support for the military takeover of power in Niger earlier this month in a joint statement on Monday, vowing to “lend a hand to the people of Niger” to fight invaders.
Mali and Burkina Faso warned that “any military intervention against Niger would amount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” the statement said.
They also said an invasion of Niger would see their immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS, as well as the adoption of self-defence measures in support of the armed forces and the people of Niger.
Berating ECOWAS and its leaders, Mali and Burkina Faso accused ECOWAS of hypocrisy.
“The Transitional Governments of Burkina Faso and Mali are deeply indignant and surprised by the imbalance observed between, on the one hand, the celerity and the adventurous attitude of certain political leaders in West Africa wishing to use force armed forces to restore constitutional order in a sovereign country, and on the other hand, the inaction, indifference and passive complicity of these organizations and political leaders in helping States and peoples who have been victims of terrorism for a decade and left to their fate,” the statement added.
It followed the weekend’s decision of ECOWAS to leave military options open for Niger should the coup plotters fail to relinquish power to democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum and return to their barracks. ECOWAS also threatened to block all trades, including banking and utility supply, with Niger, as well as blockade the country’s airspace.
Mr Bazoum was ousted from office on July 27. Soldiers immediately declared an indefinite curfew and closure of all borders,
Colonel Amadou Abdramane, who appeared to be among the leaders of the coup, addressed Mr Bazoum directly, saying the soldiers seized power to “put an end to the regime that you know due to the deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”
However, this development has been widely condemned by international communities, the United States of America, the United Nations and ECOWAS, which is led by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria.