The leaders of Burkina Faso and Mali have issued a warning to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), stating that any military intervention in neighbouring Niger will be considered a “declaration of war” against both their countries. They have further threatened to withdraw from the ECOWAS bloc.
In a joint statement released on July 31, 2023, the military governments of Mali and Burkina Faso expressed their support for Niger and showed solidarity with the leaders of the recent coup in that country. They adamantly refused to comply with what they deemed as “illegal, illegitimate, and inhumane sanctions” against the Nigerien citizens and authorities.
This statement came after ECOWAS issued a one-week ultimatum to Niger insurgents to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. The regional bloc demanded the “immediate release and reinstatement” of President Bazoum, who had been detained by the military since July 26, 2023.
ECOWAS warned that if their demands were not met within the specified timeframe, they would take all necessary measures to restore constitutional order in Niger, including the possibility of using force.
In response to ECOWAS’ stance, Mali and Burkina Faso pledged their support to Niger. Shortly after the joint statement, Guinea also joined in warning against outside forces and expressed solidarity with the Niger Military Council.