Recent events in Niger have once again thrown the spotlight on political instability in West Africa. Just last month, army officers seized power in a coup, overthrowing President Mohamed Bazoum. This coup marks the fourth instance of political upheaval in the region since 2020, following similar occurrences in Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Mali.

In response to these developments, the officers who took control in Niger have made a significant announcement – they have authorized the armies of neighboring Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene in their country “in the event of aggression.” This move has prompted various reactions both within Niger and across the region.

Regional Powers Rally for Intervention

The recent visit of the foreign ministers of Burkina Faso and Mali, Olivia Rouamba and Abdoulaye Diop, to Niger’s capital, Niamey, highlights the seriousness of the situation. The new ruler of Niger, General Abdourahamane Tiani, warmly received the foreign ministers and welcomed the signing of orders authorizing the armies of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene on Niger’s territory in case of aggression. This collaborative effort indicates a united front against potential regional stability threats.

The ECOWAS Factor

The West African regional bloc, ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), has consistently advocated for stability and democratic governance in member countries. Following the coup in Niger, ECOWAS threatened to use force to reinstate the ousted President Bazoum. Serving as the 10th president of Niger since winning the presidential election in 2021, a coup d’état led by Tiani forced Bazoum out of his position last month.