Approximately 30,000 people gathered in Niger’s capital Niamey on August 6, as the country faced a threat of military intervention led by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). As the deadline set by ECOWAS expired on August 6, the regional bloc held an emergency virtual meeting with the African Union to discuss the situation in Niger.
The bloc did not publicly comment on the expiration of its ultimatum, but on August 7 issued a brief statement, announcing that ECOWAS chair, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, had convened a second Extraordinary Summit of the Authority which would take place in Abuja on August 10, to discuss “the political situation and recent developments in Niger.”
The bloc had first convened an Extraordinary Summit in Abuja on July 30, following which it had warned Niger’s military leaders, or the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), that it would take “all measures necessary,” including the use of force, if ousted president Mohamed Bazoum was not reinstated by August 6.
Plans for a possible military intervention were finalized in a three-day meeting of ECOWAS defense chiefs of staff which concluded in the Nigerian capital of Abuja on August 4.
Lawmakers in Nigeria rejected a proposal by President Bola Tinubu to deploy troops on August 5. ECOWAS members Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire have declared their intentions to deploy troops. Meanwhile, Niger’s other regional neighbors, Chad and Algeria (which is not a member of ECOWAS) have rejected military action.