The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said Thursday that most West African nations are prepared to join a standby force that might intervene in Niger to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum, who was deposed in a July 26 coup.
According to Al Jazeera, ECOWAS commissioner Abdel-Fatau Musah said all ECOWAS members except Cape Verde and those under military rule — Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea, and Niger — are ready to participate. That leaves 10 ECOWAS nations that are preparing to invade Niger.
The comments came as ECOWAS military chiefs began two days of talks in Ghana to discuss a potential military intervention. Musah said at the meeting that military force was still a last resort but stressed that the West African bloc was ready to take that step.
“If push comes to shove we are going into Niger with our own contingents and equipment and our own resources to make sure we restore constitutional order. If other democratic partners want to support us they are welcome,” he said.
While ECOWAS says it’s still open to a peaceful solution, there’s no indication the Niger junta is willing to give into the West African bloc’s demand to reinstate Bazoum. Over the weekend, the Junta said it had evidence to prosecute Bazoum with treason.
An ECOWAS intervention could spark a major regional war, as Burkina Faso and Mali have warned that they would consider such an action a declaration of war against them. The US and France could also be involved as they both have over 1,000 troops in Niger.