ECOWAS delegation arrives in coup-hit Niger: AFP
Updated 22:27, 19-Aug-2023
Street view of Niamey, capital of Niger, August  6, 2023. /Xinhua
Street view of Niamey, capital of Niger, August 6, 2023. /Xinhua

Street view of Niamey, capital of Niger, August 6, 2023. /Xinhua

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has arrived in Niger's capital, AFP reported Saturday, citing sources close to the organization. 

A plane carrying the delegation landed in the capital Niamey at around 1:00 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), a day after the bloc's military chiefs said they were ready to intervene to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. 

Niger's governing military council also confirmed the arrival of the ECOWAS representatives, headed by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, according to AFP.

Following a two-day meeting of ECOWAS defense chiefs in Ghana's capital of Accra on Thursday and Friday, the bloc said its standby force is prepared to intervene in Niger at any time if a peaceful resolution to the recent coup in Niger cannot be found through other means.

Niger's soldiers launched a coup and detained President Bazoum on July 26.

ECOWAS has since convened several meetings, trying to steer Niger's political impasse through diplomatic approaches.  

But tensions are still escalating between Niger's military junta and ECOWAS.

In early August, Niger's junta denied a joint delegation from West African states, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations permission to enter Niger, saying it could not guarantee their safety in the face of popular anger.

It had also snubbed meetings with a senior U.S. envoy and another ECOWAS delegation.

Last week, ECOWAS leaders convened a summit in Nigeria and decided to activate the standby force while underscoring their continued commitment to restore constitutional order in the country through peaceful means.

According to media reports, Niger's junta, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, had allegedly told a top U.S. diplomat that Bazoum would be killed if neighboring countries attempted any military intervention to restore his rule.

(With input from agencies)

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