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Benin Pledges Support for ECOWAS Over Niger

Benin has insisted that diplomacy is the preferred solution to managing the crisis caused by the military coup in Niger.

The country’s foreign minister, Olushegun Adjadi Bakari, told reporters his country was demanding the immediate release and reinstatement of President Bazoum.

Bakari also pledged his full support for efforts by the west African bloc ECOWAS to resolve the ongoing crisis.

“We are and we fully subscribe to the diplomatic actions that are underway and that remain the preferred solution for the time being,” said Bakari.

“But if tomorrow, for whatever reason, whatever action ECOWAS were to take, Benin would in fact be fully involved as a member of ECOWAS. “

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is chaired by Nigeria, has imposed tough sanctions on Niamey but also sent a delegation to meet junta representatives to reinforce its position.

Bakari added: “So, today, the only thing to remember is that the president of Niger recognised by ECOWAS, the African Union and the entire international community is President Bazoum. 

“President Bazoum is currently being held hostage, and what we want is for him to be reinstated as President of Niger.”

Several West African states, including Senegal, have pledged to send in troops if the bloc decides to intervene.

ECOWAS states’ general chiefs of staff met in Abuja Friday to discuss Niger while several West African states, including Senegal, have pledged to send in troops should the bloc intervene.

Coup leaders have promised to counter such a move.

Niger’s neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso, both ruled by army juntas following coups in the past three years and both currently suspended from ECOWAS, have offered backing to Niamey’s military leaders.

Both states have also warned they would consider an armed intervention a “declaration of war.”