Later this month, West African leaders are scheduled to convene a summit in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, as the region grapples with a series of coups and endeavors to address jihadist conflicts in the Sahel.
The Ivory Coast President’s office announced that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will hold the summit on December 10, following discussions with ECOWAS chiefs.
In August, these leaders gathered to discuss Niger’s situation following a coup on July 26, which ousted elected President Mohamed Bazoum. Currently, Bazoum remains confined to his residence in Niamey.
In response to the situation in Niger, ECOWAS heads of state contemplated military intervention as a final recourse to reinstate Bazoum and enforced significant economic sanctions on Niger, which is currently under military rule led by General Abdourahamane Tiani. However, the regime has stood firm, asserting that a transition to civilian rule might require as long as three years.
Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the current ECOWAS chair, has indicated that discreet discussions continue with the Niger regime.
“I would not say that we have given up on the military option. We have suspended it, waiting for the sanctions to produce results,” said Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, in a published interview Thursday on the Jeune Afrique website.
“Many things are negotiable, but under no circumstances will we accept a three-year transition.”
However, he mentioned that efforts to engage with the leaders of the coup were unsuccessful due to the regime’s refusal.
Omar Alieu Touray, the president of the ECOWAS commission, stated that the bloc could not acknowledge the military administration.
“President Bazoum remains as the president until the leadership of ECOWAS reaches an agreement on the situation,” he told the ECOWAS parliament in Abuja on Thursday.
Out of the 15 member nations within the bloc, four have been under military leadership following coups that occurred since 2020. These countries include Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea.
Subsequently, all four nations have faced suspension from the organization and will not have representation at the Abuja summit.
The first three countries, contending with jihadist violence, have formed an Alliance of Sahel States.
As per senior officials within the country, a failed coup endeavor occurred on Sunday in Sierra Leone, another ECOWAS member, resulting in 21 fatalities.
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