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Burkina Faso and Mali Dispatch Fighter Jets to Niger Amidst ECOWAS Intervention Efforts

August 19, 2023








In a significant development, Burkina Faso and Mali have taken a decisive step by sending warplanes to Niger Republic, in a response to the potential armed intervention planned by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to reinstate democracy in Niger. According to reports from a Niger television station, both Burkina Faso and Mali have transformed their commitment into tangible action by deploying Super Tucano fighter jets within the borders of Niger on Friday.

This proactive move comes after the leaders of Mali and Burkina Faso pledged their support for Niger, following the coup that led to the imprisonment of President Mohamed Bazoum on June 26. The elected government of Niger was dissolved by the coup leaders, raising concerns both regionally and internationally. Niger is a significant uranium producer and a crucial Western ally in the fight against Islamist insurgency.

The involvement of ECOWAS, spearheaded by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, has taken a diplomatic turn with sanctions imposed on the military personnel in Niger. A one-week ultimatum was given to the military junta to restore President Bazoum to his rightful office. However, when this ultimatum lapsed, West African leaders convened on August 10 to endorse a “standby force” aimed at reinstating the elected president.

Notably, the coup leaders remained defiant in the face of ECOWAS’ warnings, vowing to resist any foreign intervention. The situation escalated as ECOWAS Defense Chiefs were instructed to activate the regional force, with plans to restore civil rule in Niger, indicating an impending “D-Day” operation. In a bold response, the military governments of Mali and Burkina Faso have openly challenged ECOWAS, warning against an armed intervention and asserting their readiness to counter such action.

In a recent development, the military leaders from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger convened in Niamey, the capital of Niger, to strategize on “concrete measures” should ECOWAS opt to escalate the situation into a conflict.

Source: Punch




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