Niger’s military leadership has announced the immediate closure of the nation’s airspace, warning of swift and forceful action against any violations. This decision was communicated through an official statement on Sunday, where the military rulers emphasized their concerns about an apparent impending intervention, as neighboring countries reportedly make preparations. The directive mandates the closure of Niger’s airspace for all aircraft starting from Sunday until further notice.
This development comes as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had set a deadline for the military rulers to cede power to the democratically elected President, Mohamed Bazoum. The ultimatum issued by ECOWAS indicated that the military leaders had one week to step down or potentially face military intervention.
President Bazoum had been removed from office on July 26 by his own guard, who detained him at the presidential residence. The ensuing situation has heightened tensions in the region, as ECOWAS exerts pressure on the new ruling authorities to reinstate democratic governance.
Coinciding with these events, a virtual meeting was convened between leaders of ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) on Sunday. The meeting held significance as it marked the expiration of the deadline set by the regional bloc for the Niger junta to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to power. This meeting was part of a series of consultations led by President Bola Tinubu, who chairs the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, to address the evolving situation in Niger.