Niger Situation: Burkina Faso and Mali Ready to Intervene Incase of Attack, Putin Commits Support Despite Prigozhin’s Death

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Military attack fears in Niger have peaked remarkably in the last few days. Interestingly, these attack fears began hitting home after the report that France had sought Algeria’s permission to use its airspace in a military strike on Niger, which Algeria reportedly declined. France denied it had made such a request.

Most recently, French President, Emmanuel Macron lost his cool and lashed out at the Nigerien junta for the continued detention of the ousted pro-France former president of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum. Coincidentally, days after his outburst and pressure on ECOWAS to act, the security situation in Niger deteriorated remarkably, leading the Nigerien junta to raise security alert levels in the country.

In fact, on Thursday the 24th of August, 2023, the foreign ministers of both Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso met in Niger’s capital, Niamey to discuss boosting cooperation on security and other issues of concern. By the close of that meeting, the head of the Nigerien junta, Abdourahmane Tchiani eventually signed TWO ORDERS “authorizing the Defense and Security Forces of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene on Nigerien territory in the event of an attack.”

So, all that talk and threat from Mali and Burkina Faso, that any attack on Niger will be treated as an attack on both countries, has now been officially activated through those orders signed by Tchiani. Basically, things have gone from rhetoric to real action.

About a day ago, Vladimir Putin assured African countries in which Wagner PMC has a presence that they have nothing to worry about over the sudden demise of Yevgeny Prigozhin, insisting that Wagner will fulfill its obligations to those countries (including Niger) and even do more.

Earlier yesterday on Saturday, Nigerians once again held a massive pro-military rally, virtually filling the 30,000-capacity Seyni Kountche stadium in Niamey where they waved Nigerien, Algerian, and Russian flags, chanting anti-France slogans and openly declaring their support for the military junta.

“We have the right to choose the partners we want, France must respect this choice,” said Ramatou Ibrahim Boubacar, a model wearing Nigerien flags from head to toe. “For 60 years, we have never been independent, only since the day of the coup d’etat,” she said. (AJ) Boubacar added the country fully supports the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), which seized power after President Mohamed Bazoum’s government was overthrown on July 26.

ECOWAS has maintained it is not starting any war with Nigeriens, probably given the continent-wide rejection of any military intervention in Niger, but news out of Niger implies otherwise, as the junta believes ECOWAS is under immense pressure and is actually planning to carry out its threat of military intervention, any time.

On Friday, Niger’s foreign ministry announced that French ambassador Sylvain Itte had 48 hours to leave, saying he refused to meet with the new rulers and citing French government actions that were “contrary to the interests of Niger”. Paris rejected the demand, saying that “the putschists do not have the authority to make this request“.

“The French ambassador, instead of leaving, thinks this is the land of his parents,” said Idrissa Halidou, a healthcare worker and CNSP member. “We are people of war, we are ready to fight against [ECOWAS].”

The new American Ambassador to Niger, Kathleen Fitzgibbons equally refused to report to the junta saying they were not the legitimate leaders. There are now rumors that after France, other Ambassadors who are uncooperative may also be asked to leave as the drums of war beat louder and louder.

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