West African leaders will meet in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Sunday July 30, for an emergency summit on Niger, where a military coup took place earlier this week.
The heads of state of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) could suspend Niger from its institutions, cut off the country from the regional central bank and financial market, and close borders. France and the EU have already suspended financial aid and security cooperation with Niger. The US says it will follow suit.
General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the head of the powerful presidential guard, declared himself the leader of Niger on Friday as the country’s elected president Mohamed Bazoum has been held by the military for four days.
“ECOWAS and the international community would do everything to defend democracy and ensure democratic governance continues to take firm root in the region,” president of Nigeria and ECOWAS chairman, Bola Tinubu, said in a statement on Friday.
In a televised statement on Saturday night, July 29, Niger’s military leaders warned against any such military intervention by ECOWAS saying soldiers are ready to defend their homeland.
“The objective of the (ECOWAS) meeting is to approve a plan of aggression against Niger through an imminent military intervention in Niamey in collaboration with other African countries that are non-members of ECOWAS, and certain western countries,” junta spokesperson Colonel Amadou Abdramane said.
“We want to once more remind ECOWAS or any other adventurer, of our firm determination to defend our homeland,” he added.
The junta issued another statement calling on citizens in capital Niamey to come out into the streets Sunday from 7 a.m. local time (8 a.m. CET) and demonstrate against ECOWAS to show support for the new military leadership.
Niger is among the world’s poorest countries and receives nearly $2 billion (€1.8 billion) a year in official development assistance, according to the World Bank.