Mali and Burkina Faso have dispatched warplanes to Niger in a show of solidarity against possible military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
A report aired on Niger’s state television highlighted joint efforts by Mali and Burkina Faso in support of Niger and the deployment of warplanes within Niger’s borders on Friday.
“Mali and Burkina Faso turned their commitments into concrete action by deploying warplanes to respond to any attack on Niger,” it said, noting the planes were Super Tucano fighter jets.
According to international media reports, during a meeting on Friday of the ECOWAS chief of staff in Ghana, the date of the impending military intervention in Niger was not disclosed but the bloc declared that its military forces were ready to intervene as soon as orders were given.
Burkina Faso and Mali, both under military leadership, previously released a statement of support for Niger against the planned ECOWAS military operation to alter the course of the coup in Niger.
It warned that any intervention would be seen as a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali.
General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the former commander of Niger’s presidential guard, declared himself last month the head of a transitional government after President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted by a military coup.
As per international media reports, a volunteer militia force comprised of civilians is also being organised in Niger in response to the potential ECOWAS military intervention.
Recruitment for a civilian militia force called the Volunteers for the Defense of Niger (VDN) will commence Saturday in the national capital of Niamey.
Volunteers interested in joining VDN will gather at the General Seyni Kountche Stadium where anyone older than 18 can register.
Similar efforts are also set along the borders of Nigeria and Benin.
The militias will assist the military in various capacities, including armed combat as well as medical care, logistics, technical and engineering support when needed by the military administration.
A similar militia group with the same name exists in Burkina Faso, offering support to the army in counterterrorism efforts.