Niamey, Aug 6 (EFE).- The military junta that recently took power in a coup in Niger on Sunday accused a “foreign power” of preparing “an attack” on the country in coordination with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which on the weekend had threatened the junta with military intervention if they do not restore the constitutional order.
In one of three statements read by Col. Amadou Abdramane on public television during the nightly news, the junta said that it had “corroborating reports” regarding the preparations by “the forces of a foreign power” for an attack on Niger and “against its people” in coordination with ECOWAS and “armed terrorist groups.”
The junta provided no details about which “foreign power” it was referring to.
In the same statement, No. 24 since the coupists seized power, the junta accused ECOWAS of “being in the pay” of the foreign power in question and warned against “any interference in Niger’s internal affairs,” mentioning the “disastrous consequences of this military adventure” on regional security, stability and unity.
The junta said that Niger’s army “is ready to defend the integrity and honor” of the African nation and issued a “vibrant appeal” to the country’s young people to “be prepared to defend the homeland.”
In an earlier communique on Sunday, No. 22, the junta calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland (CNSP) said that it “is closely following the preparations for this war by proxy” and accused two Central African nations – which it did not name – of undertaking a pre-deployment of their troops.
ECOWAS, which decreed trade and financial sanctions against Niger after the coup, issued an ultimatum – which expires at midnight on Sunday – to the coup leaders to return the deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum, to power or face a military intervention.
However, the prospect of a military option to end the coup is dividing countries across Africa and even the members of ECOWAS itself. For now, the governments of Nigeria, Benin, the Ivory Coast and Senegal have clearly confirmed the availability of their armies to intervene in the territory of Niger.
At the other extreme, Mali and Burkina Faso, countries that are politically close to Moscow and governed by military juntas, oppose the use of force and claim that any intervention in Niger would amount to a declaration of war against them as well.
Guinea-Conakry, Algeria and Chad have also opposed the intervention.
Meanwhile, France – a former colonial power in West Africa and which has a strong military presence in Niger with 1,500 soldiers deployed within the framework of agreements signed to pursue the fight against terrorism – on Saturday affirmed that it “firmly and determinedly supports” the efforts of ECOWAS to “cause (the military coup in Niger) to fail.”