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NIGER: Generals recall envoy from Abidjan over Ivory Coast remarks

THE coup leaders recalled their country’s envoy in Abidjan on Monday after remarks by Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara that they said amounted to “praising armed action” against Niamey.

Referring to the green light given by Niger’s west African neighbours for possible armed intervention to restore democracy in the country, the military rulers denounced Ouattara’s “eagerness” to “see this illegal and senseless aggression against Niger come to pass”.

On his return from a summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja on Thursday, Ouattara said the heads of state had agreed a military operation should “start as soon as possible”.

He said Ivory Coast would contribute a battalion of between 850 and 1,100 troops, alongside Nigeria and Benin.

“The putschists can decide to leave tomorrow morning and there will be no military intervention, it all depends on them,” he said.

“We are determined to reinstate President (Mohamed) Bazoum.”

The statement from Niger’s coup leaders said the body’s “haste… attests to the manipulation orchestrated by certain outside powers,” which it did not name.

“That is why the (leaders) and the government of Niger express their total rejection of the remarks made” by Ouattara “which go beyond the common position of the sub-regional organisation ECOWAS… and decide to recall the Niger ambassador to Abidjan for consultation.”

On Thursday, ECOWAS leaders reaffirmed their preference for a diplomatic route to restore Bazoum, while ordering the deployment of a “standby force”, without giving details of any possible West African military intervention.


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