ECOWAS military force in Niger will destabilise region- Russia warns
Russia has warned the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that military intervention in Niger Republic could escalate the crisis.
Leaders of ECOWAS member states met in Abuja on Thursday and resolved to deploy a “standby force” in a bid to restore constitutional democracy to Niger and reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
ECOWAS chairperson and Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, had said during the summit that “no option is off the table, including the use of force as a last resort”.
Russia however says a military solution to the crisis could lead to a “protracted confrontation”.
“We believe that a military solution to the crisis in Niger could lead to a protracted confrontation in that African country, and to a sharp destabilisation of the situation in the Sahara-Sahel region as a whole,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
Russia has not formally backed the coup leaders.
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On Friday however, some supporters of the Niger junta were seen waving Russian flags as they protested at a French military base near the capital Niamey, with some chanting “down with France, down with ECOWAS”.
France and the US operate military bases in Niger which have been used to launch operations against insurgents in the wider region.