The leaders of Niger’s military coup stated on Sunday that they believed the regional body ECOWAS was on the verge of launching a military intervention in the capital of the Sahel country.
Ahead of an ECOWAS crisis summit on Niger held on Sunday, the junta expressed their concerns, stating: “The aim of this meeting is to approve a plan of aggression against Niger, in the form of an imminent military intervention in Niamey, in cooperation with African countries who are not members of the regional body and certain Western nations.”
The statement was delivered on national television by Amadou Abdramane, a member of the junta that recently seized power, ousting the elected president Mohamed Bazoum and assuming control.
West African leaders were set to convene on Sunday in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, to address the military coup in Niger, the most recent upheaval to impact the volatile Sahel region.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to which Niger belongs, may contemplate the imposition of sanctions on the junta as a response to the military coup.
France, the former colonial power, and the European Union have already taken measures by suspending security cooperation and financial aid to Niger in response to the military coup.
In the previous year, ECOWAS leaders reached an agreement to establish a regional security force with the objective of intervening against jihadist threats and preventing military coups.
Specific details regarding the functioning and funding of the regional security force are still unclear. ECOWAS defence ministers are expected to make critical decisions on these matters later this year.