The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has rebuffed the three-year transition proposal put forth by Niger Republic’s military junta.
The leader of the coup, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, had pledged during a meeting with an ECOWAS delegation, led by retired General Abadulsalami Abubakar, that the military government would restore Niger Republic to democracy within three years.
Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, stated in an interview with BBC that the proposed plan was deemed unacceptable by ECOWAS, setting the stage for potential military action.
Despite this stance, thousands of Nigeriens took to the streets in support of the military junta, defying ECOWAS’ stance that an invasion might be necessary if diplomatic efforts failed to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
The rally coincided with discussions between the ECOWAS delegation and the junta, which reportedly yielded limited results. An official from the Niger government acknowledged that there were divisions within the presidential guard, suggesting that a military intervention could lead to significant unrest among the soldiers in the presidential complex.
Pope Francis, meanwhile, advocated for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, highlighting the need for peace and stability in the Sahel region. The coup leader, General Tchiani, had warned against an attack on Niger and pledged a transition to civilian rule within three years.
ECOWAS’ insistence on immediate democratic restoration contrasts with the junta’s proposal, sparking tensions within the region. With concerns about the potential military confrontation looming, the situation remains uncertain.
Niger Republic’s current leaders have accused France of influencing ECOWAS’ stance and raised suspicions about foreign involvement in an attack. The crisis threatens to disrupt regional stability and poses challenges to addressing the ongoing security threats posed by militant groups linked with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
As ECOWAS deliberates its next steps, Nigeriens and the international community are watching closely, hopeful for a peaceful resolution while preparing for the possibility of military intervention.