Following the Niger coup, the military junta-run neighboring countries of Burkina Faso and Mali have sternly warned ECOWAS against employing force to restore President Mohamed Bazoum.
On Monday, Burkina Faso and Mali backed the recently-installed junta in Niger and cautioned against any military interference in domestic affairs.
Towards the end of last week, President Mohamed Bazoum’s administration was overthrown by Guards chief General Abdourahamane Tiani. He has been given a week to restore Bazoum’s rule by the West African group ECOWAS following significant international condemnation of the coup.
Niger Coup: What did Burkina Faso and Mali say about the situation in Niger?
“Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” the two countries said in a joint statement on Monday.
They said the “disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger… could destabilize the entire region.” The two governments also “refuse to apply” the “illegal, illegitimate and inhumane sanctions against the people and authorities of Niger,” the statement said.
The statement comes after leaders of ECOWAS threatened to use “force” to reinstate Bazoum and imposed sanctions on Niger’s government.
In a separate statement, Guinea expressed its “disagreement with the sanctions recommended by ECOWAS, including military intervention,” urging the bloc “reconsider its position.”
The governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea are also the result of recent military coups.
Nigerien minister arrests draws EU condemnation
Niger’s military rulers have detained at least 180 members of Bazoum’s Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), according to the party.
PNDS spokesman Hamid N’Gade said that Energy Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamdou, Mines Minister Ousseini Hadizatou and party president Foumakoye Gado were among those detained.
N’Gade called the arrests “abusive” and said they stemmed from the “repressive, dictatorial and unlawful behavior” of the military.
European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell also condemned the arrests.
“The EU denounces the continuing arrests of Ministers and senior officials of President Mohamed Bazoum’s government by the putschists in Niger,” Borrell said. “We call for their immediate release.”
sdi/wd (Reuters, AFP)