The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has announced that it will deploy its standby force to Niger to restore constitutional order. The decision was made at an extraordinary summit of ECOWAS leaders held in Abuja, Nigeria, on Thursday.
The summit was convened to discuss the ongoing political crisis in Niger, which began with a coup d’état on July 26, 2023. The coup leaders have refused to step down, despite repeated calls from ECOWAS to do so.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the summit, ECOWAS leaders condemned the coup and the continued detention of President Mohamed Bazoum. They also warned the coup leaders that they will be held “fully and solely responsible” for the safety of President Bazoum and his government.
ECOWAS leaders also decided to enforce all measures agreed upon at the previous summit, including border closures and asset freezes. They also called on the African Union and the United Nations to support ECOWAS’s efforts to restore constitutional order in Niger.
The deployment of the ECOWAS standby force represents a significant escalation of the crisis in Niger.
It is the first time that ECOWAS has deployed its standby force to restore constitutional order in a member state in over a year.
The deployment of the standby force is likely to lead to increased tensions in Niger. The coup leaders have vowed to resist any attempt to remove them from power by force. It is unclear how the standoff will be resolved.
However, ECOWAS leaders have made it clear that they are committed to restoring constitutional order in Niger. They have warned the coup leaders that they will face serious consequences if they do not step down.