Niger’s neighbors say any intervention to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to office would be considered a ‘declaration of war’ against them.
The military governments of Burkina Faso and Mali have warned that military intervention against coup plotters in Niger last week would be seen as a “declaration of war” on the two countries.
Niger’s neighbors issued warnings in a joint statement read on state television Monday, days after West African leaders threatened to use force to restore ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
“The transition governments of Burkina Faso and Mali express their fraternal solidarity with the people of Niger, who have taken their destiny into their own hands and have chosen with full responsibility to assume full sovereignty ahead of history. Of the above two countries, the military government said.
“Any military intervention in Niger is tantamount to declaring war on Burkina Faso and Mali,” they warned, adding that such a move “could destabilize the entire region,” with “devastating consequences.”
Military authorities in Burkina Faso and Mali also said they would refuse to apply “unlawful, unlawful and inhumane sanctions against the Nigerien people and authorities”.
The Niger coup on 26 July sent shock waves across West Africa, pitting the country’s former Western allies and regional groups against other countries in the region.
Niger’s coup leaders appointed former chief of the presidential guard, General Abdulrahmane Chiani, as head of state, said that Bazoum’s removal due to poor governance and ways to deal with al Qaeda-linked security threats.
The military takeover was immediately condemned by the African Union, the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and other powers.
The regional union ECOWAS has imposed sanctions such as suspension of all financial transactions and freezing of state assets. It also said it could allow the forced return of Bazoum, who is being held at his home in the capital Niamey, according to observers.
In addition to Burkina Faso and Mali, the President of Guinea, Mamadi Doumbouya, whose government is also the result of the coup, has stated that he does not support any sanctions recommended by ECOWAS, including military intervention.