The defense chiefs of more than a dozen West African nations will meet this week to finalize plans for the deployment of its Standby Force to Niger, where signs that the recent ousting of its democratic government and subsequent political turmoil is threatening security in the region may be beginning to show.
Niger, a Western ally in the turbulent Sahel region, fell in a coup July 26. Since then, the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States intergovernmental union, of which Niamey is a member, has been threatening military intervention if the usurping National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland does not reinstate the government of President Mohamed Bazoum, who appears to be under house arrest.
The ECOWAS had given the junta an ultimatum to reinstate civilian rule earlier this month, but after that deadline passed, its military chiefs activated the union’s Standby Force and ordered its deployment “to restore constitutional order in the Republic of Niger” while leaving open the possibility for negotiations for a peaceful resolution.
What activation and deployment of its Standby Force meant was unclear and remained so Wednesday when it said in a statement that its chiefs of defense will meet Thursday and Friday in Accra, Ghana, “to finalize plans” for its deployment.