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Niger Coup: Military Junta Closes Airspace Citing Intervention Threat From Neighboring Nations

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After taking over power in Niger, the military coup leaders have shut the nation’s airspace till an unspecified time. The decision has been taken due to anticipation of threat from neighbouring countries.

Flightradar24, a flight tracking website, shows Niger’s skies empty, that is, without any aircraft, in its records.

The community of West African nations ECOWAS, had warned Niger’s military leaders of using force if President Mohamed Bazoum was not reinstated by 23:00 GMT (03:00 MUT) on Sunday. The president was locked up on 26 July by his presidential guards, the leader of which announced himself as the new leader of the nation.

The Niger junta’s spokesperson read a statement on national television on Sunday, claiming to have knowledge that “a foreign power” was getting ready to strike Niger.

Following a crisis conference in Nigeria, the military leaders of Ecowas announced on Friday that they had created a thorough strategy for the potential use of force.

Ecowas commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, Abdel-Fatau Musah said, “All the elements that will go into any eventual intervention have been worked out here, including the resources needed the how and when we are going deploy the force.” He added, “We want diplomacy to work, and we want this message clearly transmitted to them [Niger’s junta] that we are giving them every opportunity to reverse what they have done”.

They gave the generals a week to comply with their ultimatum to cede control by midnight local time, but the deadline has now expired.

Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and 14 other West African nations make up the regional commercial bloc known as Ecowas.

Thousands of the coup leaders’ supporters gathered on Sunday at a stadium in the capital Niamey, as the coup leaders appear unwilling to give up control.

Burkina Faso and Mali, two of Niger’s neighbours, previously issued a warning that they would regard any foreign military intervention in Niger as “a declaration of war” against them. Mali and Burkina Faso are both Ecowas members, although they have both been expelled from the organisation as a result of being governed by military coups.

Under Bazoum, Niger was an important Western ally in the conflict with Islamist extremists in West Africa’s Sahel area. Niger is a significant producer of uranium, a fuel essential for nuclear power.

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