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Niger Coup: ECOWAS military chiefs meet in Ghana…amidst disagreement with AU

Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU) appeared to disagree on whether a military action should be on the table in the first place.

This is coming at a time ECOWAS military heads are meeting in Accra, Ghana to deliberate on the road map for possible military intervention in Niger starting today, August 17, 2023.

ECOWAS decision to release a “standby force to restore constitutional order” in Niger has met a strong opposition by many stakeholders in the West African region.

The meeting of the top brass comes after fresh violence in the insurgent-hit country, with jihadists killing at least 17 soldiers from an army detachment in a “terrorist ambush” near a border with Burkina Faso, according to the Defense Ministry’s statement. More than 100 “assailants” traveling on motorbikes were “neutralized” during their retreat, the army said.

But after AU’s Peace and Security Council, in a Monday meeting in Addis Ababa, reportedly rejected the ECOWAS proposal to stage a military intervention in Niger, it appears the two regional groupings are at odds over whether the crisis should be resolved by military means.

A diplomat who attended the meeting told the media that many southern and northern African member countries were “fiercely against any military intervention.”

Since the AU Council had not by Wednesday issued a joint statement on the bloc’s stance, the AU is “probably waiting to hear what ECOWAS’ decision is going to be” at the conclusion of the two-day meeting in Ghana, said Andrew Tchie, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.

The ECOWAS meeting also comes amid reports , Niger’s capital Niamey, that its residents are calling for the mass recruitment of volunteers to assist the army face possible ECOWAS Intervention.

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