Algeria and Egypt have voiced their opposition to the prospect of military intervention in the Niger Republic. Both countries emphasize that dialogue remains the best option to address the ongoing political crisis in the country.
Recall that following the coup that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, leaders from West Africa had issued a stern warning, hinting at possible military action in the Sahel region if General Abdourahmane Tchiani and his fellow coup leaders failed to reinstate democratic governance and the ousted president.
This stance against military intervention resonates with prominent figures and groups in Nigeria, including the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), and Northern Elders Forum (NEF), among others, echoing their concerns. These voices caution that any military engagement could pose challenges for Nigeria, given its immediate proximity to Niger.
Already, it has been revealed that over 7,000 migrants find themselves stranded in Niger due to ongoing border closures.
In an effort to find a resolution to this persisting issue, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has dispatched his foreign minister, Ahmed Attaf, on a diplomatic mission to Nigeria, Benin Republic, and Ghana. The tour, which commenced yesterday, is geared towards engaging with counterparts in ECOWAS nations. The primary objective is to advocate for diplomacy as the preferred course of action rather than resorting to military measures.
Algeria, which shares a lengthy 1,000-kilometer land border with Niger, remains resolute in its stance against a military solution, with President Tebboune underscoring that such an approach would be a “direct threat” to his North African nation.
He said: “There will be no solution without us (Algeria). We are the first people affected.”
The African Union suspended Niger on Tuesday until civilian rule is restored and also said it would assess the implications of any armed intervention.
Algeria, in addition to its shared border with Niger, also shares border with the conflict-ridden nations of Libya and Mali.
The political impasse in Niger underscores a troubling trend in West Africa, with this being the fourth instance of a coup since 2020, following similar upheavals in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali. This pattern raises concerns about political stability and governance across the region.
The Egyptian government, aligning its stance with that of Algeria, also underscored the importance of dialogue in resolving the Niger crisis. Authorities stress that a military approach would not only be detrimental to the West African sub-region but also hold the potential to disrupt the wider African continent.
While acknowledging the urgency of restoring democratic governance in Niger in a timely manner, Egyptian officials are highlighting the paramount importance of avoiding a course of action that could trigger a conflict with repercussions felt by neighboring nations. This cautious approach seeks to balance the imperative of political restoration with the broader goal of maintaining regional stability.
“Egypt boosts all efforts exerted to defuse tensions in a way that promotes the democratic order and the sovereignty and stability of Niger and prevents escalations that could shake regional security,” the foreign ministry said in a statement yesterday.
The ministry said the region (ECOWAS) could ill-afford a military operation at present and cautioned against it.