Niger coup leaders are getting backing from colleague military juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali following a threat of force from the regional bloc ECOWAS if they don’t re-instate President Mohamed Bazoum.
Burkina Faso and Mali who share border with Niger say any attempt to use force to have Bazoum restored will be seen as a declaration of war on them.
There have been efforts to mediate following ECOWAS’ threat, with Chadian President Mahamat Idris Déby visiting in Niger to resolve the crisis.
But in a joint statement, Burkina Faso and Mali coup leaders threatened that if Ecowas intervened militarily in Niger, they would withdraw from the bloc and go to the defence of Niger.
“Mali and Burkina Faso warn that any military intervention in Niger will be considered as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” the joint statement read on both countries’ national broadcasters.
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Francophone West African nations have been on a mission of cutting ties with former colonial master France.
The coup leaders in Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea in recent years have all rode on anti-french sentiments.
They have all looked to Russia for stronger ties against the West and their threat of coming to the defence of Niger could escalate the crisis further.
Meanwhile the Niger military leaders have arrested and detained senior politicians and President Bazoum is still being held by the soldiers.
Mr Bazoum is being held by Niger’s coup leaders after being ousted last week.
Niger is grappling with two Islamist insurgencies – one in the south-west, which swept in from Mali in 2015, and the other in the south-east, involving jihadists based in north-eastern.