Niger’s coup leaders have demanded the return of their ambassador from Abidjan following what they perceive to be inflammatory comments made by Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara. The leaders have accused Ouattara of endorsing military aggression against Niger.
The controversy arose after the president expressed support for a potential armed intervention to reestablish democracy in Niger, a sentiment that did not sit well with the military leaders of Niger. They were notably irked by Ouattara’s readiness to witness what they termed as “an unlawful and unwarranted attack on Niger.”
Upon his return from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit in Abuja, Ouattara revealed that the heads of state had concurred that a military operation should commence promptly.
Ouattara disclosed that the Ivory Coast would contribute a battalion of 850 to 1,100 troops to the operation, in conjunction with Nigeria and Benin. He further stated, “The putschists can decide to leave tomorrow morning and there will be no military intervention, it all depends on them,” adding that the goal was to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to power.
The Niger coup leaders expressed their firm rejection of Ouattara’s statements, insinuating that outside forces were at play. As a result, they have decided to recall their envoy to Abidjan for consultations.
Despite this, ECOWAS leaders reiterated their preference for a diplomatic solution to restore Bazoum to power during the Thursday meeting, even as they approved the deployment of a “standby force”. Details regarding the potential West African military intervention were not disclosed.
SOURCE: Channels TV
IMAGE: New Vision