West African military chiefs have called for the unconditional release of detained President Mohammed Bazoum of Niger.
The chiefs made the call at the two-day 48th Extraordinary Meeting of the Economic Community of West African State Committee of Chief of Defence Staff which ended on Friday in Accra.
The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS) also called for the release of Mr Bazoum’s family and the members of his cabinet in detention.
Niger Republic military junta has since Monday, July 26, held in detention the President, his family and members of his cabinet.
Ambassador Abdel-Fatau Musah, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, ECOWAS, who made the call in Acora said. “ECOWAS was ready to go to Niger anytime the order is given”
The troops across the region are ready to respond to the call of duty. “Operational troops are not disclosed, but they are ready equipment-wise, with political will and resources,” he said.
According to Ambassador Musa, ECOWAS was not against the Republic of Niger, however, it was working on Niger coming back to a constitutional rule.
“We have not shut any door, sanctions are on the table, ready to accept dialogue but not any fruitless one
“We are doing it ourselves. The coup in Niger is one coup too many for the region, and we are putting a stop to it,” he said.
Ambassador Musa said the Meeting of CDS on the deployment of the ECOWAS standby force in the Republic of Niger was the second and final before deployment.
The two-day Meeting was a platform for military chiefs from ECOWAS countries to strategise on possible military intervention in Niger.
The military takeover marks the ninth coup or attempted power grab in just over three years in West and Central Africa, the regions that over the last decade had made strides to shed their reputation as a “coup belt”.
ECOWAS leaders last week resolved to activate a standby force for intervention following a takeover by the junta.
The Military Chiefs, among other things, are expected to prepare a force structure and plan of attack in Niger if ECOWAS leaders give the green light.
Meanwhile, ECOWAS last week ordered its standby force to restore constitutional order in the Niger Republic.
Mr Omar Alieu Touray, President of ECOWAS, made the declaration while reading the resolution of ECOWAS on the Niger coup at the ECOWAS Extraordinary Meeting held in Abuja on Thursday, August 10, 2023.
Mr Touray further called on the African Union (AU), partner countries, and institutions to support the resolution taken by the sub-regional body.
He said all efforts made to dialogue with the Nigerien military junta had been defiantly rejected by the coup leaders.