Niger junta ends military agreement with Benin over troops deployment
The junta accuses Benin of authorizing the deployment of soldiers, mercenaries, and war materials in anticipation of a possible ECOWAS attack.
The military junta in Niger announced on Tuesday that it will terminate a military agreement with neighboring Benin, accusing it of authorizing the deployment of soldiers on its territory for a possible ECOWAS military attack against Niger.
Since the July 26 coup in Niger, the Western-backed ECOWAS bloc has been seeking to convince the junta of backing down and restoring ousted President Mohamed Bazoum but has warned that if diplomatic attempts fail, it will use force as a last resort to restore "constitutional order" and overturn the coup.
In a statement conveyed by national television, the junta indicated that Benin had "authorized the deployment of soldiers, mercenaries, and war materials" in anticipation of a possible ECOWAS attack.
It pointed out that, as a result, the new Nigerien authorities "decide to renounce the military cooperation agreement (with Benin)."
On its part, ECOWAS has not disclosed any information regarding potential deployments, and Niger stated last week that negotiations with the West African bloc were ongoing.
Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who now holds the rotating chairmanship of ECOWAS, has recommended that a nine-month transition back to civilian administration may satisfy regional powers, while the junta in Niger has previously proposed a three-year plan.
A couple of days ago, Niger's military junta accused France of deploying its forces in some parts of West Africa for a military intervention in Niger, according to AFP, citing regime member Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane.
During a television broadcast on Niger's national television, the news agency quoted Abdramane as saying that "France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger, which it is planning in collaboration with this community organization."