The activation of a “standby force” by the Economic Community of West African States has been agreed upon as a contingency measure to reinstate democracy in Niger following the overthrow and detention of Bazoum by military officials on July 26th.
However, it states that it prefers dialogue to mitigate the crisis.
A plane carrying the delegation landed in the capital city of Niamey at approximately 1:00 p.m. (1200 GMT), a day after the bloc’s military commanders declared their willingness to intervene to reinstate Bazoum.
The military council administering Niger confirmed the arrival of ECOWAS representatives led by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar.
An earlier ECOWAS mission headed by Abubakar attempted to meet Bazoum and the coup leader General Abdourahamane Tiani earlier this month, but was unsuccessful.
According to a source close to the most recent delegation, it will see Bazoum and deliver “a message of firmness” to the army officers.
ECOWAS defence officials convened this week in Accra, Ghana, to finalise plans for a future military action to retake Bazoum if continuing talks with the coup leaders fall down.
“We are ready to go any time the order is given,” Abdel-Fatau Musah, an ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs and security, said on Friday after the military chiefs’ meeting.
“The D-Day is also decided.”
The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States assert the necessity of taking action in response to the occurrence of a coup in Niger, marking the fourth instance of such political upheaval in a West African nation since 2020, following similar events in Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso.
The Sahel region is currently facing significant challenges due to the emergence of jihadist insurgencies that are associated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organisation.