Russia has warned that military intervention in Niger would lead to a “protracted confrontation” after regional bloc Ecowas said it would assemble a standby force with regional defence chiefs set to meet in Ghana to finetune their war plan.
Such an intervention would destabilise the Sahel region as a whole, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported the Russian foreign ministry as warning on Friday.
Meanwhile, West African defence chiefs will meet in the coming days in Ghana, August 12, 2023 to be precise, to prepare plans for a possible military intervention in Niger, a spokesperson for the regional bloc said on Friday, Reuters reported.
The ECOWAS bloc ordered the activation of a standby force on Thursday, two weeks after generals ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in the seventh coup in West and Central Africa in three years.
The chiefs of staff meeting indicates that West African nations are stepping up preparations to commit troops for a possible action to reverse the coup.
However, the scheduled meeting in the Ghanaian Capital Accra was canceled but later indefinitely suspended it for “technical reasons”.
Sources said the meeting was originally set up to inform the organisation’s leaders about “the best options” for activating and deploying the standby force.
Anonymous sources also claim that the Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo canceled the meeting as a result of the Ashanti kingdom’s King Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s objection to and rejection of the war.
“It will not be in Ghana that you will decide to go to war against the Hausa… who are our cousins… War has no culture in the history of the Ashanti kingdom!” Says Ashanti King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.” Alleged quote of king Osei Tutu II.
Thousands of coup supporters rallied in the Niger capital Niamey on Friday to protest against the ECOWAS plan to send troops.
Niger’s new leaders have accused former colonial power France, a close Bazoum ally, of being behind the hardline ECOWAS stance.
Many protesters brandished Russian and Niger flags and shouted the ir support for the country’s new strongman, General Abdourahamane Tchiani.
France has around 1,500 troops in Niger as part of a force battling an eight-year jihadist insurgency.
Niger coup leaders have since named a new government, which met for the first time on Friday.
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