Hundreds brandishing Nigerian and Nigeriens flags took to the streets Saturday to demonstrate against possible military intervention to reverse a recent coup in Niger.
Protests in Nigeria’s Kano State came days after leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc, at an emergency summit Thursday in the Nigerian capital of Abuja pushed forward the possibility of using force to restore constitutional order and reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum who was deposed July 26 by the military.
Chanting “Nigeriens are our brothers, Nigeriens are also our family,” demonstrators demanded that Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who is also chairperson of ECOWAS “favor the diplomatic approach to resolve the crisis in Niger,” according to videos on social network.
“We don’t want war, war against Niger is injustice,” protestors yelled.
Demonstrators accused ECOWAS of being “used” by Western allies to attack Niger.
Regional countries are divided on the possibility of a ECOWAS military response to Niger’s coup, with opponents asserting that it could spiral into a wider regional conflict.
Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Benin have expressed willingness to send troops to Niger.
France and the US announced support for efforts of the ECOWAS bloc to avert a coup following Thursday’s summit.
But Mali and Burkina Faso, where the militaries seized power in 2020 and 2022 and were suspended from the bloc, declared strong backing for coup leader Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard who now acts as the head of a transitional government ever since the military ousted Bazoum.
Algeria, another nation that shares a common border with Niger, has also categorically rejected any military intervention, even when it called for a return to constitutional legitimacy.