War in West Africa: ECOWAS Ultimatum Expires on Sunday, May Prompt Military Intervention in Niger – Military Coup Leader Goes to Mali To Ask for Wagner PMC Help

This Sunday (August 6th), the ultimatum by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS expires, potentially opening the way for conflict in the region, with military intervention in Niger triggering a proxy war of considerable proportions.

On one side, the US and former African colonial power France, and the Western African nations of the ECOWAS – notably Nigeria, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin. On the other, Russia, Wagner PMC, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guiana.

Associated Press reported:

“Niger’s new military junta has asked for help from the Russian mercenary group Wagner as the deadline nears for it to release the country’s ousted president or face possible military intervention by the West African regional bloc, according to an analyst.”

One of the Niger military rebels, Gen. Salifou Mody, traveled to neighboring ally Mali, where besides meeting the local military leaders, he also made contact with a representative from Wagner PMC group.

This moves comes as Niger’s junta faces a Sunday deadline to release and reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

“After his visit to Mali, run by a sympathetic junta, Mody warned against a military intervention, vowing that Niger would do what it takes not to become “a new Libya,” Niger’s state television reported Friday.”

Niger was the Western nations’ last reliable partner for counterterrorism in the region.

The developments mark a hard blow for French influence in Africa, as the Niger military junta scrapped all military agreements with the former colonial masters.

The nation poised to reap the political benefits at this point appears to be Russia.

“It isn’t possible to say Russia is directly involved in Niger’s coup, but ‘clearly, there’s an opportunistic attitude on the part of Russia, which tries to support destabilization efforts wherever it finds them’, French foreign affairs ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre told broadcaster BFM on Friday. For days after Niger’s junta seized power, residents waved Russian flags in the streets.

[…] On Saturday, France’s foreign affairs minister, Catherine Colonna, said the regional threat of force was credible and warned the putschists to take it seriously. ‘Coups are no longer appropriate … It’s time to put an end to it’, she said. The ministry said France supported the ECOWAS efforts ‘with firmness and determination” and called for Bazoum and all members of his government to be freed’.”

France still has 1,500 soldiers in Niger, and U.S. also has 1,100 military personnel in the country.

WATCH: students take to the streets in Niger to protest sanctions and ECOWAS military threats.

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS defense leaders gathered to plan the moves ahead.

Reuters Reported:

“West African defense chiefs have drawn up a plan for military action if Niger’s coup is not overturned by Sunday, the regional bloc said on Friday, after mediation failed in a crisis that threatens regional security and has drawn in global powers.

[..] Given its uranium and oil riches and pivotal role in the war with Islamist rebels in the Sahel region, Niger has strategic significance for the United States, China, Europe and Russia.”

The intervention plan has been agreed upon, as per Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.

“‘All the elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out here, including the resources needed, the how and when we are going deploy the force’, he said at the close of a three-day meeting in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.”

Read more about it:

Welcome to the Next Proxy War: France and US Back West African ‘Democracies’ Trying To Overturn Niger Coup, While Russia Backs Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea Vowing To Defend the Military Junta

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