A high-level delegation representing the West African regional bloc ECOWAS concluded its visit to Niger on a futile note. According to a member of the team on Friday, they couldn’t meet the leader of the junta that orchestrated the recent coup.
The delegation, led by former Nigerian president Abdulsalami Abubakar, arrived in the capital city of Niamey on Thursday with the intent of presenting ECOWAS’s demands. However, the scheduled meeting with coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani and deposed President Mohamed Bazoum did not take place, as the team departed before spending the night in the country.
Nigeria, a key player within ECOWAS, currently holds the rotating presidency of the regional organization. In response to the coup, ECOWAS imposed sanctions and set a deadline for the restoration of President Bazoum to power, demanding a resolution to the crisis.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu expressed the bloc’s commitment to resolving the situation peacefully, yet ECOWAS maintained that military intervention remains a potential last resort option.
While maintaining its stance, Niger’s junta warned it would meet force with force.
“Any aggression or attempted aggression against the State of Niger will see an immediate and unannounced response from the Niger Defence and Security Forces on one of (the bloc’s) members,” one of the putschists said in a statement read on national television late Thursday.
The situation continues to be closely monitored as the region seeks a peaceful resolution to the political upheaval in Niger.