Live: ECOWAS military chiefs to meet in Ghana over Niger coup
West African military chiefs are set to meet Thursday in Ghana to coordinate a possible intervention aimed at reversing Niger’s coup. But it appears the African Union disagrees with a military outcome. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments on the situation in Niger. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
9:36am: ‘Anger’ in Ghana over some ECOWAS countries’ willingness to participate in Niger intervention
There is “widespread public anger” in Ghana over some ECOWAS countries’ willingness to participate in a possible military intervention in Niger following the July 26 coup d’état. FRANCE 24’s Justice Baidoo reports from Accra, where a two-day meeting of military chiefs from the West African bloc kicks off on Thursday.
7:33am: AU ‘probably waiting’ for ECOWAS military chiefs to meet before taking ‘next steps’ on Niger
The African Union has rejected an ECOWAS proposal to stage a military intervention in Niger unless the junta cedes power and reinstates President Mohamed Bazoum, according to several sources cited by French media. However, the AU’s Peace and Security Council, which met in Addis Ababa earlier this week, had not issued a joint statement on the union’s stance as of Wednesday.
The AU is “probably waiting to hear what ECOWAS’ decision is going to be” at the conclusion of a two-day meeting of the West African regional bloc’s military chiefs set to begin today in Ghana, Andrew Tchie, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, told FRANCE 24’s Eye on Africa show.
“I think that’s [what] the African Union is waiting for, before it maybe speaks about what its decision’s going to be and what the next steps are going to be” on Niger, Tchie said.
4:30am: West African military chiefs to meet in Ghana this Thursday
West African military chiefs are set to meet Thursday in Ghana to coordinate a possible intervention aimed at reversing Niger’s coup.
Alarmed by a cascade of takeovers in the region, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has decided to create a “standby force to restore constitutional order” in Niger.
The meeting of the top brass on Thursday and Friday comes after fresh violence in the insurgent-hit country, with jihadists killing at least 17 soldiers in an ambush.
Key developments from Wednesday, August 16:
The African Union is “rejecting” a military solution to the coup in Niger. The African Union’s Peace and Security Council, the organ in charge of enforcing the bloc’s decisions, met in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday for talks on the crisis in Niger that one African diplomat described as “difficult“.
According to several sources cited by French media, the council rejected an ECOWAS proposal to stage a military intervention unless the Nigerien military junta cedes power and reinstates President Mohamed Bazoum. Bazoum has been under house arrest since the July 26 coup.
Meanwhile the United Nations warned Wednesday that the ongoing crisis in Niger could significantly worsen food insecurity in the impoverished country, urging humanitarian exemptions to sanctions and border closures to avert catastrophe.
The UN humanitarian agency OCHA highlighted that even before Niger’s democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum was toppled in a coup late last month, the country counted more than three million acutely food-insecure people.
Finally, the United States said Wednesday that a new ambassador would head shortly to Niger as planned and would help lead diplomacy aimed at reversing the coup.
Kathleen FitzGibbon, a career diplomat with extensive experience in Africa, was confirmed by the Senate as ambassador one day after the coup after her nomination was held up for a full year as part of an unrelated political battle.
Credit to: France24