Niger Junta Asserts Willingness to Defend, Rejects War Amid ECOWAS Tensions

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By Daniel Edu

Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the leader of the mutineers who seized control in Niger, conveyed on Saturday that his country’s intentions do not align with war, yet it remains prepared to safeguard itself if required.

Tchiani, as reported by Al Jazeera, stated, “Neither the armed forces nor the people of Niger desire conflict, but we are resolute in resisting any form of aggression.”

He highlighted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member nations fail to realize Niger’s pivotal role in preventing regional destabilization in the face of escalating terrorist activities.

Tchiani underscored that the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS were designed to exert pressure on the insurgents and not to address the current crisis constructively.

Furthermore, Tchiani asserted that the rebel faction’s objective isn’t to seize power but rather to find a resolution that aligns with the people’s interests.

Over the weekend, reports indicated an ECOWAS delegation’s arrival in Niger’s capital for discussions with the deposed President Mohamed Bazoum to assess his detention conditions. The delegation also engaged in talks with Tchiani, as reported by Reuters.

The coup, which occurred on July 26, led to the ousting and detainment of President Bazoum by his own guards, under the leadership of Tchiani.

Subsequent to the coup, ECOWAS suspended financial assistance to Niger, froze rebel-held assets, and enforced a ban on commercial flights to and from the country.

During an August summit in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, ECOWAS leaders agreed to activate a standby military force, potentially to compel the Nigerien military to reinstate Bazoum.

On Friday, Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, disclosed that ECOWAS chief military officers had agreed on a commencement date for military intervention, which they chose not to disclose publicly.

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