A tripartite defence pact has been signed by Niger Burkina Faso and Mali authorising forces to defend each other in event of an ECOWAS attack
ECOWAS under pressure Tinubu says
Military intervention benefits no one Russia states
The President of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland (CNSP), Brigadier General Abdourahamane Tchiani has signed orders authorising the Defense Forces and Security of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene in Niger territory in the event of an attack, according to reports by the Agence Nigerienne de Presse (ANP), Thursday.
The signing of the order comes on the heels of a working visit by a joint Burkina-Mali delegation of foreign ministers to Niamey the Nigerien capital.
They reaffirmed their desire to lead together with Niger the fight against terrorism and violent extremism which prevail in all three countries in a declaration Thursday, at the end of a working session that brought together the three delegations in Niamey.
In the final communiqué of their working session, the three countries mentioned, at the security level, terrorist threats and violent extremism in the Sahel, in West Africa and particularly in the three border countries.
They reaffirmed their ”commitment to pool their resources to combat these scourges which have been raging for several years in the sub-region and jeopardize the effective implementation of development programmes”.
Welcoming the various initiatives underway to combat these scourges, and the operational support provided by various partners in this context, the three countries insisted on the need to strengthen the mechanisms of cooperation, exchange of intelligence and joint operations against terrorist groups.
The three countries agreed to grant each other facilities for mutual assistance in matters of defence and security in the event of aggression or terrorist attacks.
To this end, they agreed to set up a Joint Secretariat.
Also on Thursday, Nigerian President and current Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) chair Bola Tinubu in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale in Abuja the Nigerian capital said: “I am managing a very serious situation. If you take ECOWAS aside, other people will react, those who are outside of our control. I am the one holding those sides back. I am the one holding back ECOWAS. “
On the urgency of the situation, he said: ‘’Even as at this morning, I have been inundated with phone calls on the readiness of countries with their military force and contributions. However, I told them to wait. I am meeting with the Ulamas and I will get back to you.”
The Islamic clerics under the umbrella of Ulama’a, yesterday, briefed Tinubu on their meetings with the military junta and disclosed that the President has sent them back to Niamey to continue their diplomatic efforts to resolve the political crisis in the Sahel country.
The Islamic clerics, comprising different Islamic sects, after the meeting, insisted that they don’t want war or any military action in the country that shared boundaries with Nigeria.
“I don’t think that an incursion would do anyone any good. Forces opposed to the intervention are already taking shape in another segment of ECOWAS, I really would not wish to see the Africans end up with this kind of scenario,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists at the BRICS summit in South Africa.
“It would be destructive and disastrous for many countries and for thousands of people,” Lavrov added
Lavrov pointed out that, in order to properly assess current events in Niger, the entire background of the situation should be considered, whereas the “West loves to take things out of context.”
“The Sahara-Sahel zone in Africa has been tormented by terrorism since 2011 when NATO broke Libya apart and destroyed the Libyan state by supporting terrorists who they were stirring up against Muammar Gaddafi,” the Russian foreign minister explained. “And then, when Libya ceased to exist, it became a black hole, a thoroughfare with millions of illegal migrants trekking north through it, while those very bandits whom the West used to overthrow the Gaddafi regime rushed to the south,” he added.
Lavrov stressed that, currently, it is precisely “those guys (US-backed terrorist groups) who are creating and reinforcing groups affiliated with the IS (the Islamic State, banned in Russia ) and Al Qaeda (banned in Russia).”
“The French, who for a long time were the most active in supporting Gaddafi’s opposition, are leaving Mali; the EU mission is leaving. It is necessary to perceive the true reasons for these coups,” the top Russian diplomat noted.
Niger’s military-government supporters take part in a demonstration in front of a French army base in the capital Niamey
According to Lavrov, the West has a history of extracting resources from Africa, while Russia, including during the Soviet period, has attempted to act differently, helping African countries to create the foundations of industry and educational and healthcare systems.
Lavrov also noted that one should not dismiss such a critical factor driving current events in West Africa as the dissatisfaction felt by a portion of society in African countries with how the West has interacted with the continent.
“And, now, what are being labeled as coups d’etat have occurred in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso. I cannot rule out that a certain segment of society, in this case the military, sees that the relationships with the West put in place and fostered by the rulers of the relevant countries, and with which they [the rulers] are personally satisfied, are incapable of helping resolve the problems faced by the population at large,” he elaborated.
Since July 26, 2023, Niger has been led by the CNSP chaired by Tchiani who said the coup d’etat is justified by poor economic and social governance and a continuous deterioration of the security situation in the country.