Several soldiers from Niger have been killed in various attacks by armed groups in the West African nation, the regional bloc said late Wednesday.
(Bloomberg) — Several soldiers from Niger have been killed in various attacks by armed groups in the West African nation, the regional bloc said late Wednesday.
The 15-member Economic Community of West African States condemned the attacks in a statement and called on the military leadership to restore constitutional order so as to focus on the country’s security.
Niger’s security “has become increasingly fragile since the attempted coup d’etat against the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum,” Ecowas said.
The economic bloc’s latest appeal comes days after it warned the military junta that its vow to prosecute Bazoum on “high-treason” charges will jeopardize efforts to resolve the leadership crisis through dialog.
Ecowas last week activated its standby force as it considers military intervention to force the junta to relinquish power. It also imposed sanctions including freezing the nation’s assets at the regional central bank and banning commercial flights — measures that prompted junta-installed Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine to say they were open for talks.
The chiefs of defense staff of Ecowas on Thursday will start a two-day strategic meeting in Ghana’s capital, Accra, said Brigadier-General Eric Aggrey Quashie, a spokesman for Ghana Armed Forces.
They will continue preparations on Niger, he said by phone.
The military officials earlier held a three-day meeting through Aug. 5 in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. All the elements that would go into any eventual intervention, including the timing and resources were discussed during that meeting.
Members of Ecowas’ parliament, which held a virtual sitting over the weekend, urged the regional bloc to prioritize dialog over force.
Member nations would incur more costs if they go to war, said Emmanuel Bedzrah, a Ghanaian lawmaker and member of the regional parliament. Ecowas must also work to get the involvement of African Union and the United Nations before embarking on the use of force, he said.
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