The committee of chiefs of defence staff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it has fine-tuned its military intervention plans in Niger Republic.
ECOWAS agreed to use force as a last resort if diplomatic efforts failed to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum who was toppled and detained since the July 26 coup.
The military junta had also defied the bloc’s deadline to relinquish power, leading to ECOWAS’ deployment of standby military troops last week.
On Thursday, ECOWAS said it had begun the activation of its standby force in the Niger Republic to restore constitutional order.
The bloc added that its defence chiefs would meet in Accra, Ghana’s capital, to finalise plans for the deployment of force.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the two-day meeting on Friday, Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, said the defence chiefs had agreed on a day to intervene.
Musah added that the regional body is still seeking to engage peacefully with Niger’s military leaders.
“We are ready to go anytime the order is given,” he said.
“The D-day is also decided. We’ve already agreed and fine-tuned what will be required for the intervention. As we speak, we are still readying [a] mediation mission into the country, so we have not shut any door.
“Let no one be in doubt that if everything else fails, the valiant forces of West Africa, both the military and the civilian components, are ready to answer to the call of duty.”
Niger’s new military junta has defied calls from the United States and France, and the United Nations (UN) as well as the African Union (AU) to reinstate Bazoum.
The coup leaders had ousted the president on account of “bad governance and worsening security”.