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Why ECOWAS Military Action To Sack Niger’s Coup Leaders Is Necessary, By Godwin James

An urgent military action by the Economic Community of West Afrocan States (ECOWAS) to push out the junta in Niger is a necessity for several reasons.
I will try to present the reasons as follows:
1. The Nigerien coup is not due to any particular political conditions, but to the personal interests of soldiers who had not anticipated anything, and want to serve themselves rather than serve the people.
– The junta lied about the security situation in Niger, which, in actual fact, has improved in recent months. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) of Niger had recognized this fact in his wishes’ greetings in January 2023. This situation is weakening the army of Niger.- The political and security situation in Niger has improved significantly over the past two years thanks to the good governance of Mohamed Bazoum’s government and the coordinated action of the Nigerien and foreign forces, and always under command of Niger.
2. Why Tchiani wants power:
– The coup was led by General Tchiani, head of the Presidential Guard. Whereas he was to be suspended from his post for incompetence, he managed to mobilize members of the Republican Guard to negotiate with the president a severance grant. General Tchiani has gone too far and found himself in a situation where he was either to grab power or he was going to end up in jail. So he chose to mobilize other embittered, disappointed soldiers in their ranking to join him in his attempt to take power.
– Not wanting a confrontation between inhabitants of Niger, the CDS of Niger didn’t choose to frustrate the those responsible for this coup using force and then rally them. The perpetrators of the coup have started by arguing about who would take power, General Tchiani seems to have taken over and began to rewrite a history related to “national interests” to legitimize himself. Former pro-Bazoum civil servants and soldiers are now being hunted (many arrests), which shows moreover that promises of appeasement of the members of the junta are lies.
3. Another major reason for an ECOWAS action is that:
This coup will have economic and security consequences for the entire sub-region region.
– The coup brings an inexperienced, even pyromaniac, team to a key Sahel state. The Niger Republic will isolate itself regionally and internationally, which will have consequences on economy and movement of people.
Ignoring Russia…
Despite its reassuring rhetoric, Russia is reproducing its policy of pressuring the new junta as it did in Burkina Faso by mobilizing rioters with Russian flags. Russia seeks to combine defence of the junta with its own interests. Russia, which is not capable of moving forward a hundred meters into Ukraine, does not have the military or financial capacities to support Niger at the same level as Western forces.
Likely Consequences of the coup
The most likely outcome is a security collapse in Niger on the same level as in Mali, which has lost control of three-quarters of its territory.
The most likely outcome is the emergence of a continuous insecure zone from Mauritania to Algeria border unto Boko Haram evolution zones. For this reason, Algeria has also condemned the coup.
4. The necessary ECOWAS’ answer
ECOWAS is legitimate, as it represents Benin, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Cape Verde, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Niger legitimate government.
The accusations against ECOWAS of being controlled by France are racist and conspiracy: they imply that all authorities in all these countries are controlled by Paris.
Because of the risk of serious economic and security destabilization posed by this coup over an important part of West Africa, an ECOWAS military intervention to restore order in Niger is necessary.
The junta has the support of only a small part of the population and an upside down of the situation, meaning a support to the Nigerien people, will be fast thanks to an action by ECOWAS, including military action.
James is an African affairs analyst

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