Niger’s military recalls ambassador to Ivory Coast for consultations

The military administration in Niger that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum recalled the country’s ambassador in Ivory Coast on Monday for consultations, its spokesperson said.

The decision followed recent remarks by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara that indicated his “eagerness” to send troops to Niger for military intervention, Col. Amadou Abdramane said on national television.

Abdramane said President Ouattara’s wish was to “see this illegal and senseless aggression against Niger enforced.”

At the end of a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Aug. 10 in Nigeria, the bloc’s leaders said while diplomacy was on the table as the best approach to resolve the political crisis, the military option was on the cards, and they resolved to activate the bloc’s standby force to restore constitutional order in Niger.

Briefing journalists in the Ivorian city of Abidjan after last week’s summit, President Ouattara said he had instructed the chief of staff of the Ivorian army “to start mobilizing his troops for their participation in this ECOWAS operation” and that Ivory Coast is ready to provide a battalion of 850 to 1,100 troops.

On Monday, ECOWAS condemned the military administration’s plan to prosecute President Bazoum, who was ousted by military intervention on July 26, describing it as another form of provocation.

On Sunday, a spokesman for Niger’s military said Bazoum would be charged with “high treason and undermining the internal and external security” of the country.

Bazoum, his son and wife are reportedly being held hostage at his palace in the capital Niamey since the military intervention removed him.

Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself the head of a transitional government after the military ousted Bazoum.

The African Union on Monday held talks in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on the Niger crisis, whose outcomes are yet to be made public.

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