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Niger: Reactions to a possible ECOWAS military intervention

A man waits for his food at a restaurant in Niamey, Niger, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.   -  
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Sam Mednick/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


Nigeriens went about their daily life, as the Economic Community of West African States debated on a military intervention on Friday (Aug. 18).

The nation of over 25 million people was hit by sanctions from neighbouring countries after generals deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.

As the threat of a regional military intervention pended Friday, Niamey resident, Issa Komoussa, expressed anger towards ECOWAS.

"ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) can come here if they want, we are waiting for them. They will get what comes for them. We will wait for them and they will have to go through our dead bodies before reaching the putschists," he said.

"'We are waiting for them. What do they expect? Where was ECOWAS when they (the jihadists) shot our parents, our wives in villages over there? Where was ECOWAS then? Our people got shot and ECOWAS did not even share condolences for them. Now we put one man down and suddenly ECOWAS exists? If they want to have a cooperation then there should be a cooperation to fight the jihadists, those terrorizing Africa, in the first place."

Another resident doubled down. When asked if he would fight if the ECOWAS force deploys in his country, Mamou said "Of course [...]". Insisting he would take up arms for "the population, for the Nigeriens, for my country."

The 2023 Global Terrorism Index estimated that Sahel accounted for 43% of global terrorism deaths in 2022.

"Across the Sahel, 22,074 people were killed in 6,408 terrorist attacks between 2007 and 2022," the report said.

With 8,564 victims, Burkina Faso ranks 2nd in the world for the most affected countries in 2022, just behind Afghanistan. 

Somalia, Mali and Syria occupy the 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively. Next come Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Burma and Niger according to the document.

Local armies have so far failed to quell the growing jihadi insurgency linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.

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