ECOWAS military chiefs suspend key meetings on Niger coup as fears mount

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The meeting of Chiefs of Staff from the ECOWAS bloc countries was scheduled to be held in Ghana’s capital Accra, on Saturday, August 12, 12023.

But regional military sources had said on Friday that the summit has been suspended indefinitely for “technical reasons“.

The sources added that the meeting was originally set up to inform the organization’s leaders about “the best options” for activating and deploying the ECOWAS standby force.

This development followed the regional body’s resolution to muster its standby force for possible deployment in Niger to reinstate the country’s deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Fears have also grown over the safety of Bazoum whose conditions were said to be deteriorating in detention.

However, since making the declaration at its extraordinary meeting in Abuja on Thursday, August 10, 2023, ECOWAS has yet to roll out details on the force or timetable for action, and leaders, including President Bola Tinubu, have emphasized they still want a peaceful solution.

Meanwhile, the last-minute cancellation came as thousands of pro-coup Nigeriens staged a rally near the French military base in the country on Friday.

Protesters near the base on the outskirts of the capital Niamey shouted: “Down with France, down with ECOWAS“.

Niger’s junta, led by Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani, has accused France, a close Bazoum ally, of being behind the hardline ECOWAS stance against the coup.