{Photo courtesy of France 24}


By Samuel Owino


Niger’s coup leaders have closed the country’s airspace rejecting an ultimatum from the West African trade body, ECOWAS to reinstate the overthrown president Mohamed Bazoum or risk military intervention.

In a statement read on national television by the coup spokesperson, Amadou Abdramane, he cited that the planning of military action on Niger has been carried out despite disapproval from Nigeriens and ECOWAS.

“Despite the disapproval of the Nigerien people and that of ECOWAS against any military intervention in Niger, the planning of that war has been carried out.” He said. Amadou Abdramane, also mentioned that the planning has begun in two Central African states but did not give details.

The junta continued to state that they are closing their airspace for these reasons until further notice.

“Faced with the threat of intervention being prepared in neighboring countries, Nigerien airspace is closed from today, 6th August, 2023, for all aircraft until further orders. All attempts to violate the Nigerien national airspace will be an object of a forceful instantaneous response.”

There is division as to ECOWAS’s next step as the deadline to reinstate the overthrown president and the constitution. The body is torn as there is no clear step to be taken after the deadline expired.

Nigerian president, Bola Tinubu, had asked to deploy military troops to Niger but was faced with opposition from his senators. The senators however advised him to deploy delegates to conduct negotiations so as not to tarnish the diplomatic relations they have enjoyed with Niger.

A British Airways flight that left Nairobi on Sunday at 11:10 pm and landed in Niger was forced back to Kenya after two hours. A representative for British Airways apologized in a statement and confirms disruptions of flight operations in Africa due to the action taken by the Junta in Niger.

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