Mali Warns of ‘Catastrophe’ if ECOWAS Intervenes in Niger

A military intervention in Niger by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore the ousted president could be a “catastrophe,” Mali’s head of diplomacy warned on Monday.

President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown in a military coup on July 26, and ECOWAS threatened possible military intervention if he was not restored by Sunday.

Neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, both run by juntas, have expressed their opposition to any use of force against the coup leaders.

“The military force that has been used in other… countries, we see the results — it’s a disaster,” said Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop.

He was speaking alongside his Burkinabe counterpart Olivia Rouamba during an event aimed at deepening bilateral relations between the two juntas.

Diop invoked Iraq and Libya as examples of countries that had been invaded in the name of democracy with unsuccessful outcomes.

He said he “could not understand” why ECOWAS would send a military force to restore “fallen authorities” but would not provide arms to help the Sahel countries in their fight against jihadism.

The coup in Niger was condemned by Western nations and most African countries, but the Malian and Burkinabe juntas said they would view any intervention in Niger as a “declaration of war” against their own countries.

The prospect of armed intervention aroused concern in some quarters.

On Saturday, senators from Nigeria, a regional heavyweight, called on President Bola Tinubu — who is also the current chairman of the West African bloc — to “strengthen the political and diplomatic option.”

ECOWAS and Western countries are calling for a return to constitutional order in Niger and the release of Bazoum, who is being detained.

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