Niger junta recalls envoy as Ivorian president backs ECOWAS military intervention

Military leaders in Niger have recalled the country’s ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire as the Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara said he would support the military intervention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The spokesman for the junta, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, said the ambassador had returned to Niamey for consultations, as the African continent follows the Niger crisis with keen interest.

In an address on national TV, Abdramane said Ouattara’s wish was to see illegal and senseless aggression against Niger enforced, RFI reported.

Outtara’s remarks came after he returned to Cote d’Ivoire from a summit in Nigeria where leaders of the 15-nation ECOWAS decided to activate the bloc’s standby force for a possible military response to the coup.

“The heads of state agreed to deploy troops from a number of countries, including Cote d’Ivoire,” said Outtara.

“Cote d’Ivoire will provide a battalion and has made all financial arrangements for the operation if it is to last three months,” he added.

“Provisions will be made at the budgetary level so that our soldiers and officers who will participate in this operation do not lack anything. So Cote d’Ivoire is ready.”

RFI said in the report that it is understood that Cote d’Ivoire would provide a battalion of between 850 and 1,100 troops.

On Sunday, General Abdourahamane Tiani-led junta said it intended to prosecute the deposed president Mohamed Bazoum for high treason and undermining state security. If convicted, Bazoum could face the death penalty, according to Niger’s penal code.

Abdramane said that the military regime had gathered the necessary evidence to prosecute Bazoum who was toppled on 26 July.

In a similar development to ECOWAS, leading politicians from across the continent met in Addis Ababa at the headquarters of the African Union to discuss the crisis in Niger on Monday.

They, however, have not issued any formal declarations but it is believed they will add their voice to the international pressure to release and reinstate Bazoum.

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