Burkina Faso, Mali warn against military intervention in Niger

OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO – OCTOBER 21: Burkina Faso’s coup leader Ibrahim Traore attends oath-taking ceremony as Burkina Faso transitional president on October 21, 2022 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. ( Stringer – Anadolu Agency )

Mali and Burkina Faso asked the UN and African Union on Tuesday to prevent by all possible means any military intervention in Niger, where the military deposed an elected president last month.

In a joint letter addressed to the African Union Peace and Security Council and the UN Security Council, the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso and Mali, Olivia Rouamba and Abdoulaye Diop, said the extent of the consequences of military intervention “would be unpredictable.”

The two countries, where the military overthrew governments in 2020 and 2022, have openly sided with the Niger junta.

Contrary to the position of the West African bloc the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which imposed heavy sanctions on Niger’s junta in the aftermath of the coup and threatened military intervention to restore constitutional order, Mali and Burkina Faso declared that military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against them. 

The letter came a day after delegations from Mali and Burkina Faso visited Niger to show their solidarity with the military leaders in the face of isolation over the July 26 coup, which toppled President Mohamed Bazoum.

In the letter, the two countries reaffirmed their readiness “to search for diplomatic and negotiated solutions to ensure peace and stability in the region and Niger.”

ECOWAS is to hold another emergency summit on Thursday in Nigeria to address the political crisis in Niger after the military leaders ignored its Aug. 6 deadline to cede power.

Bazoum was detained by members of the Presidential Guard on July 26, and that evening, the military announced that it had seized power.

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