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Burkina Faso Ready to Leave ECOWAS in Event of Military Intervention in Niger, Defense Minister Says

© SputnikKassoum Coulibaly during his exclusive interview with Sputnik Africa
Kassoum Coulibaly during his exclusive interview with Sputnik Africa - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 19.08.2023
On August 17-18, during a meeting in Ghana's capital Accra, the defense chiefs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) reiterated that the scenario of military intervention in coup-hit Niger remains on the table if the country's military leaders refuse to restore order and reinstate President Bazoum.
Burkina Faso declared its readiness to withdraw from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the event of military intervention in Niger, where the country's President Mohamed Bazoum was overturned during a military coup in late July, Burkina Faso's Defense Minister Kassoum Coulibaly told Sputnik Africa in an exclusive interview.

"The aggression, we're waiting for it. [...] The heads of state have said: we're ready, we'll support Niger. We're even ready to withdraw from the Economic Community of [West] African States, because we don't think it would be logical for a community that was created for us to live together to start putting up useless barriers to save particular interests," Coulibaly said.

Regarding the possibility of guerrilla warfare and protests on Niger's territory if ECOWAS troops were to enter the country, the minister pointed out that this had already happened, recalling the rally at the Seyni Kountche stadium in Niamey on August 6.
Coulibaly also highlighted the increasing role of the youth in the demonstrations against the bloc's military intervention.

"I'm telling you that there's a dynamic within the population, especially the youth, for these movements, because the youth have understood that there's always manipulation. [...] They've even said they're ready to act as human shields. And that's pretty important. And that gives our leaders something to think about," he noted.

The defense chiefs from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries excluding Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea and Niger, pose for a group photo during their extraordinary meeting in Accra, Ghana, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, to discuss the situation in Niger.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 18.08.2023
Situation in Niger After Military Coup
ECOWAS Top Brass Warns Military Scenario Possible in Niger If Diplomacy Fails
In addition, the official underlined that given the fact that Burkina Faso and Niger are both members of ECOWAS, the countries "don't even have the right to wage war against each other."8

"We're part of a grouping based on economic considerations, and we're coming together. It's quite shocking to think that among the same states, we want to wage war against each other, or that certain heads of states want to wage war against other countries under the pretext of governance, under the pretext of democracy," the minister stated in a conversation with Sputnik Africa.

Moreover, the possible restoration of the regime overthrown by the coup is "contradictory", according to the official.
A coup took place in Niger on July 26 during which Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guard, led by Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani. Coup leaders assembled a caretaker National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland and partially closed the country's borders. Following the coup, regional bloc ECOWAS suspended all financial aid to Niger, froze rebels' assets, banned flights and threatened coup leaders with intervention. The ultimatum expired on August 6, after which the bloc's leaders agreed at a summit to deploy a military force to Niger.