Gift Habib with Agency report
Niger has authorised Mali and Burkina Faso’s armed forces to intervene on its territory in case of an attack.
The three allies’ foreign ministers said they had met in the Nigerien capital Niamey to discuss boosting cooperation on security and other joint issues, according to a joint statement on Thursday.
According to Reuters, this might be a possible sign the junta in Niger plans to keep resisting regional pressure to stand down.
The statement said the ministers welcomed the signing by Niger junta leader General Abdourahamane Tiani of two orders “authorising the Defense and Security Forces of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene on Nigerien territory in the event of an attack.”
“The Burkinabe and Malian Ministers … reiterated their rejection of an armed intervention against the people of Niger which will be considered as a declaration of war,” it said.
The main West African bloc ECOWAS has been trying to negotiate with the coup leaders but warned it is ready to explore all measures including the deployment of troops into Niger to restore constitutional order if diplomatic efforts fail.
Any escalation risks further destabilising the insurgency-torn region as Niger’s junta-led neighbours, Mali and Burkina Faso, have said they would back Niger in any conflict with ECOWAS.