West African Army Chiefs in Ghana over Niger Coup

Ecowas military

Military chiefs from the West African regional bloc, ECOWAS, are meeting to discuss the deployment of a standby force for possible military intervention to restore democracy in Niger.

The gathering is taking place on Thursday and Friday in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

At least 11 of the bloc’s 15-member states back a military deployment to reinstate the democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, after diplomatic efforts failed to yield any positive result.

But three Ecowas members currently under military rule themselves – Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea – support the junta.

Niger’s coup leaders have warned they will defend themselves against any intervention.

The discussions in Accra will focus on the resources, the number of troops needed, and a standard operating procedure for combat troops.

Ghana and Nigeria have led previous interventions under the umbrella of the Ecowas Ceasefire Monitory Group, Ecomog, in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The bloc has also intervened in other member countries and more recently in The Gambia.

The meeting comes amid a worsening security situation in Niger. On Tuesday, 17 soldiers were killed and 20 injured in an ambush by Islamist militants.

West African military chiefs have said they are prepared to use force to restore democracy in Niger following last month’s coup if diplomacy fails.

The generals from the Ecowas group of nations are meeting in Ghana to co-ordinate possible military intervention.


The Ecowas peace and security commissioner, Abdel-Fatau Musah, said almost all member states were committed to contributing troops and are ready to intervene in Niger.

He added that the coup leaders in Niger still had time to pull back from the brink – but said all options were on the table if they did not restore civilian rule.

The threat of intervention has raised fears of a wider conflict, as the military governments in Mali and Burkina Faso have said they would side with their counterparts in Niger.

Ecowas officials say their resources will be used to support troops, but they will also welcome any outside help.

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