Niger reopens borders with five nations but excludes members of ECOWAS, just one week after President Mohamed Bazoum was deposed.
The Niger Republic’s new military administration reopened the country’s land borders and airspace, and closed that leading to ECOWAS countries.
The military junta announced on Tuesday night that the borders had been opened to Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Libya, and Chad.
In addition, the junta chose new governors for the country’s eight regions.
While Mali and Burkina Faso are both members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), both countries have sided with the coup leaders in Niger.
Niger’s military leaders cautioned ECOWAS not to intervene again because it would “threaten the spirit of Pan-Africanism.”
They also stated that any military involvement against the country would force them to adopt ‘self defense’ measures in support of the ‘brotherly’ armed forces of the Republic of Niger.
Mali and Burkina Faso, both of which had been suspended from ECOWAS following previous military coups, have also threatened to leave the regional organisation.
As the country’s borders with Benin and Nigeria remain blocked, tensions between Niger and other ECOWAS members remain high.
The ECOWAS chairperson, President Bola Tinubu, sharply condemned the coup in Niger, vowing to do all possible to restore peace and democracy to the volatile West African country and the region as a whole.
According to reports, the regional group dispatched Benin’s President Patrice Talon to Niger to assess the situation.
ECOWAS issued an ultimatum to the coup leaders on Sunday, demanding the release and reinstatement of democratically elected President Bazoum.
If its demands are not met within a week, the regional authority has threatened harsh actions, including the use of force.
On Wednesday, the organisation launched a three-day meeting in Nigeria to deliberate the next steps.
Meanwhile, countries such as France and Italy have begun to evacuate their citizens and other nationals from Niger.
In response to the coup, several countries, including the United States and Germany, as well as global organisations like as the European Union (EU), have ceased financial assistance to the country.