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ECOWAS Resorts to 'Back-Channel Strategies' to Avoid Bloodshed in Niger

© AP Photo / Olamikan GbemigaNigeria's President Bola Ahmed Tinubu
Nigeria's President Bola Ahmed Tinubu - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 04.11.2023
In response to the military coup in late July in Niger, as a result of which the country's President Mohammed Bazoum was ousted and detained, ECOWAS imposed punitive measures on the West African nation and halted all cooperation with it. The regional bloc also threatened to use force if the rebels do not reinstate Bazoum.
Economic Community of West African Countries (ECOWAS) is using back-channel strategies regarding the situation in Niger in order to avoid bloodshed in the country, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity Ajuri Ngelale said, citing Nigerian President and Chairman of ECOWAS Bola Tinubu.

"I am deploying all appropriate back-channel strategies to avoid bloodshed in the Niger Republic. We recognize the wishes of our people; they do not want war, but that does not mean we can not take bold and decisive action," Tinubu emphasized during a meeting with Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Catherine Colonna in Nigeria's capital Abuja.

Tinubu said that diplomatic interventions in Niger would be explored, noting that Nigeria is monitoring the situation in the neighboring state, according to Ngelale.
Ghana's Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, center, flanked by Lieutenant General Yankuba Drammeh of Gambia, left, and Ivory Coast General Lassina Doumbia listen during the Extraordinary Meeting of the ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of the Defence Staff in Accra, Ghana, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 28.10.2023
Situation in Niger After Military Coup
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Ngelale highlighted that the president noted the importance of guiding the regional bloc "carefully and steadily" to protect detained Bazoum.

"Leadership is about responding to the needs of the people; their cries, and their frustrations. Nigeria shares a border with Niger across the expanse of seven Nigerian states, and most of these states are very populated. Therefore, I need to guide ECOWAS carefully and steadily so that we manage our anger carefully," the chairman of the bloc underlined.

The leader added that "a colleague and a democratically-elected leader, President Bazoum, being used as a human shield," noting that "if [ECOWAS is] not careful, he and his family can be endangered."
A coup took place in Niger on July 26. President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted and detained by his own guard, led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani. Following the military takeover, ECOWAS suspended all cooperation with Niger and threatened military intervention if the rebels do not restore Bazoum. The European Union followed suit, suspending development and security cooperation with Niger.