Burkina Faso, Mali Back Niger Junta, Warn ECOWAS

The two countries said they "refuse to apply" the ECOWAS "illegal, illegitimate and inhumane sanctions against the people and authorities of Niger".

General Abdourahamane Tchiani
This video frame grab image obtained by AFP from ORTN – Télé Sahel on July 28, 2023 shows General Abdourahamane Tchiani, Niger’s new strongman, speaking on national television and reads a statement as “President of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland”, after the ouster of President-elect Mohamed Bazoum. (Photo by ORTN – Télé Sahel / AFP)


Any military intervention in Niger to restore deposed President Mohamed Bazoum would be considered a “declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali”, the two countries said in a joint statement Monday.

The governments of Niger’s two neighbours, both the result of recent military coups, made the comments after West African leaders threatened to use “force” to reinstate Bazoum and slapped financial sanctions on the putschists.

“Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali,” the two countries warned.

They said the “disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger… could destabilise the entire region”.

The two also said they “refuse to apply” the “illegal, illegitimate and inhumane sanctions against the people and authorities of Niger”.

Guards chief General Abdourahamane Tiani has declared himself leader of Niger — but his claim has been shunned internationally and the West African bloc ECOWAS has given him a week to hand back power.

Niger is the third Sahel country in less than three years, following Mali and Burkina Faso, to be shaken by a military coup.

In a separate statement, Guinea — whose government was also the result of a coup — expressed its “disagreement with the sanctions recommended by ECOWAS, including military intervention”.

It said it had “decided not to apply these sanctions, which it considers illegitimate and inhumane”, and urged ECOWAS to “reconsider its position”.