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Burkina Faso, Mali, deploy warplanes as ECOWAS delegation arrives Niger Republic 

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Burkina Faso, Mali, deploy warplanes as ECOWAS delegation arrives Niger Republic 

Story from Christine Tobechukwu

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has arrived in Niger Republic in an effort to peacefully resolve the standoff with the coup leaders in the country.

The delegation from the regional bloc arrived in the country on Saturday for talks with the military officers who have seized power.

Prior to their arrival, Burkina Faso and Mali have also deployed war planes to the country based on the threat by ECOWAS to take military action if the coupists do not stand down and hand over power to ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

READ ALSO: We are ready to take military action in Niger Republic if diplomacy fails – ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have employed several means including threats of using military force to restore democracy in Niger after generals toppled and detained Bazoum on July 26.

ECOWAS, however, assured to give dialogue a chance to defuse the crisis.

The soldiers who overthrew Niger’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum have quickly entrenched themselves in power, rebuffed most dialogue efforts and kept Bazoum, his wife and son under house arrest in the capital.

A plane carrying the dialogue delegation landed in the capital Niamey at around 1:00 pm (1200 GMT), a day after the bloc’s military chiefs said they were ready to intervene to reinstate Bazoum.

Niger’s governing military council confirmed the arrival of the ECOWAS representatives, headed by former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar.

A previous ECOWAS delegation led by Abubakar earlier this month tried and failed to meet Bazoum and the coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

A source close to the latest delegation said it would send “a message of firmness” to the army officers and meet Bazoum.

But in a related development of show of force and support to Niger coup leaders, Burkina Faso and Mali had warned that any military intervention in Niger will be considered a declaration of war against them.

In a joint statement, the governments of Burkina Faso and Mali said, “The disastrous consequences of a military intervention in Niger could destabilise the entire region,” the statement read.

And the two nations were reported to have sent fighter jets to protect Niger on Saturday morning.

This latest move was disclosed by Niger’s national television, the television station said the military leaders from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger convened Friday in the Nigerien capital Niamey to decide on “concrete measures” in case ECOWAS chooses to “escalate a war.”

“And today, Saturday, fighter jets have been deployed to support Prime Minister Zeine”., the report added.

Most of ECOWAS’s 15 member states are prepared to contribute to the joint force, except Cape Verde and those also under military rule – Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

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