Residents of Niger’s capital greeted the arrival of military envoys from Mali and Burkina Faso on Tuesday, a day after their entrance.
The expectation is that troops from neighboring junta-led states will fortify the defense of Niger’s recent coup leaders against any potential show of force from fellow West African nations.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had issued an ultimatum to the leaders of the July 26 coup, demanding their resignation by Sunday (August 6) or facing the possibility of military intervention. In response, the junta took the proactive step of closing Niger’s airspace and vowing to safeguard the nation.
The presence of military contingents from Burkina Faso and Mali has been met with a palpable decrease in insecurity, according to Mahamede Amadou, a taxi driver, who voiced a prevailing sentiment: “Even here in Niger, we believe that French or foreign forces aren’t necessary. Our focus is on logistical support that aids our defense and security forces in fulfilling their responsibilities.”
Yousif Rachid, a resident of Niamey, emphasized the need for collaborative action among the three nations, deeming them pivotal players in the battle within the tri-border region.
While ECOWAS defense chiefs had agreed on a potential military action plan if detained president Mohamed Bazoum was not released and reinstated, the solidarity within the bloc has been fractured by a commitment from the ruling juntas of Mali and Burkina Faso, both member states. Their assurance to assist Niger’s defense when required adds a layer of complexity to the evolving situation.