After the coup leaders in Niamey disregarded a deadline to restore the ousted president, the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, has warned that it may be forced to approve military involvement. The Niger Republic is now waiting for a response.
Following the junta’s reluctance to submit to demands from outside sources to step down by Sunday in the wake of the July 26 power grab, ECOWAS has stated that it will make a declaration about its next course of action.
The bloc has taken a strong position against the seventh coup in the area in the last three years. Niger also has significance for the United States, Europe, China, and Russia because of its abundance in uranium and oil as well as its crucial position in a conflict with militant Islamists.
The junta shut down its airspace on Sunday as the deadline approached and did so indefinitely, citing the heightened risk of military intervention.
One of the world’s poorest regions, which is experiencing a famine crisis and fighting an insurgency that has murdered thousands of people and driven millions from their homes, might become even more unstable if the confrontation with ECOWAS intensified.
In the event that the arrested president, Mohamed Bazoum, is not freed and reinstated, the defense chiefs of the ECOWAS have decided on a potential military action plan, including when and where to strike.
The threat from juntas in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso to defend Niger if necessary might complicate any military action.
In order to make place in its military facility for Italian people who might need protection if security deteriorates, Italy said on Sunday that it has reduced the number of troops it deployed in Niger.