Niger: Ecowas Military Operation Put on Hold?

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Has the option of a military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in Niger been abandoned? Several countries that had initially announced their readiness to provide troops for Ecowas have, for the time being, demobilized their forces.

In official circles in Bissau, Dakar, and Abidjan, there is an acknowledgment that the troops mobilized for a potential military intervention in Niger are no longer on high alert. One interlocutor goes a step further, stating, “They are even currently demobilized,” about the troops from his country. The previously undisclosed date for a potential intervention against the coup plotters is now behind us, according to a diplomat from the Ecowas presidency.

All those interviewed converge on one point: the “military intervention” option is on hold primarily because Nigeria, the driving force behind the potential operation, has had a change of heart. Initially highly critical of the coup in Niamey, President Bola Tinubu ultimately reversed his stance.

Several member countries of the regional organization are grappling with the consequences of this decision. It should be noted that the Nigerian leader came under pressure from religious leaders in his country. However, it seems he also realized that he was moving too hastily. Now, to pressure the Niamey junta, he is banking on the repercussions of the stringent sanctions imposed on Niger.

In Abuja, in President Bola Tinubu’s inner circle, as well as within the Ecowas team, it is acknowledged that the Niger issue has become a thorn in the side. In other words, it is no longer at the top of the priority list.

Seeing the reservations coming from Nigeria, the driving force behind this potential intervention, several troop-contributing countries are adopting a cautious stance. Ivory Coast, whose troops were initially set to gather in Daloa, a city in the country’s central-western region, is no longer on high alert. The Senegalese and Ghanaian troops are in a similar position.

Soukaina Sghir

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