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Niger coup: Burkina Faso, Mali warn against intervention

August 1, 2023

Following the coup in Niger, neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali, both run by military juntas, have issued a stern warning to ECOWAS against using force to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum.

Security forces launch tear gas at protesters in Niamey, Niger
The coup has led to mass unrest in NigerImage: Souleymane Ag Anara/REUTERS

Burkina Faso and Mali on Monday threw their support behind the newly installed junta in Niger and warned against any military intervention in the country's affairs.

Guards chief General Abdourahamane Tiani deposed the government of President Mohamed Bazoum late last week. The coup has drawn widespread international condemnation, with the West African bloc ECOWAS giving him a week to hand back power to Bazoum.

What did Burkina Faso and Mali say about the situation in Niger?

"Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali," the two countries said in a joint statement on Monday.

They said the "disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger... could destabilize the entire region." The two governments also "refuse to apply" the "illegal, illegitimate and inhumane sanctions against the people and authorities of Niger," the statement said.

The statement comes after leaders of ECOWAS threatened to use "force" to reinstate Bazoum and imposed sanctions on Niger's government.

In a separate statement, Guinea expressed its "disagreement with the sanctions recommended by ECOWAS, including military intervention," urging the bloc "reconsider its position."

The governments of Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea are also the result of recent military coups.

Niger Coup Causing Uncertainty

Nigerien minister arrests draws EU condemnation

Niger's military rulers have detained at least 180 members of Bazoum's Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), according to the party.

PNDS spokesman Hamid N'Gade said that Energy Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamdou, Mines Minister Ousseini Hadizatou and party president Foumakoye Gado were among those detained.

N'Gade called the arrests "abusive" and said they stemmed from the "repressive, dictatorial and unlawful behavior" of the military.

European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell also condemned the arrests.

"The EU denounces the continuing arrests of Ministers and senior officials of President Mohamed Bazoum's government by the putschists in Niger," Borrell said. "We call for their immediate release."

sdi/wd (Reuters, AFP)