The military officials responsible for the Niger coup, which ousted President Mohamed Bazoum from power on July 26, are now making an alarming threat. They have warned that they will execute the deposed president if the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) proceeds with its plans to deploy military forces in Niger to reinstate constitutional order.
Reliable sources, notably The Associated Press, have disclosed that high-ranking members of the Nigerien military junta conveyed this threat to a senior U.S. envoy. The message was delivered during the visit of U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland to the country this week.
According to a Western military official who shared the information under anonymity, the junta representatives informed Nuland of their intention to kill Bazoum if ECOWAS enforces military intervention to restore democratic governance. This chilling revelation intensifies the stakes for both the regional bloc and the junta, as the latter has displayed a readiness to escalate its actions since seizing power.
The Associated Press report stated, “Two Western officials told The Associated Press shortly before the West African bloc ECOWAS said it had directed the deployment of a ‘standby force’ to restore democracy in Niger, after its deadline of Sunday to reinstate Bazoum expired.”
The ECOWAS Heads of States and Government held a meeting in Abuja, culminating in a decision to deploy a “standby force” to reestablish democracy in Niger after the coup. However, President Omar Touray of ECOWAS did not disclose detailed specifics about the composition, location, or intended deployment date of this military intervention force. He did assure that financing had been addressed and necessary measures had been taken.
In presenting the resolutions of ECOWAS on the Nigerien military junta at the conclusion of the extraordinary summit, President Touray also appealed for support from the African Union, partner nations, and institutions in endorsing the sub-regional body’s decision. This decision emerged as a last resort following the ineffectiveness of previous attempts to engage the military junta in dialogue.