The delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by Former Military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has failed to meet the Niger Republic junta again.
The delegation which was sent to Niger in a last-ditch diplomatic effort to reach a peaceful solution with the Niger junta arrived in Niamey, the country’s capital on Saturday, August 19, 2023.
According to BBC, although the delegation was scheduled to meet with Niger Republic Coup Leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, it was Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine who received them,
The meeting with representative of the troubled West African country reportedly lasted about 90 minutes.
It is unclear why Abdulsalami’s delegation could not meet with the junta but there are unconfirmed reports of mutiny by the presidential guard of Niger Republic.
A previous effort by ECOWAS delegation also led by Abdulsalami failed to meet President Mohamed Bazoum and the coup leader.
Tichiani later apologised when some Nigerian clerics met with him last weekend, saying he did not meet the delegation out of anger.
ECOWAS had activated its standby force and said all options were on the table Niger junta ignored the ultimatum to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum.
At the end of a two-day meeting of ECOWAS Defence Chiefs in Accra, Ghana capital, Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, said the regional bloc’s troops were waiting for order to strike.
“We are ready to go any time the order is given. The D-day is also decided. We’ve already agreed and fine-tuned what will be required for the intervention. As we speak, we are still readying [a] mediation mission into the country, so we have not shut any door,” Musah said.
After Musah’s press conference, Burkina Faso and Mali, which had earlier warned against any military intervention in Niger, deployed war planes in the troubled nation.
In a joint statement issued weeks back, the governments of Burkina Faso and Mali said, “The disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger could destabilise the entire region.”
The latest move of Mali and Burkina Faso was disclosed by Niger’s national television.
In a report, the television station said the military leaders from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger convened Friday in the Nigerien capital Niamey to decide on “concrete measures” in case ECOWAS chooses to “escalate a war.”
Most of ECOWAS’s 15 member states are prepared to contribute to the joint force, except Cape Verde and those also under military rule – Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.