“Niger’s Airspace Closed Amid Coup Concerns and Regional Tensions”

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Niger’s Airspace Closed Indefinitely by Coup Leaders Amidst Threat of Military Intervention.

Niger’s airspace has been shut down by the leaders of the recent coup, who have expressed concerns about potential military intervention from neighboring nations. Current data from the flight tracking website Flightradar24 reveals a complete absence of aircraft in Niger’s skies.

The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a coalition of West African countries, had previously issued a warning that it might resort to the use of force if President Mohamed Bazoum was not reinstated by the Sunday 23:00 GMT deadline. The junta’s spokesperson has stated that Niger’s armed forces are prepared to defend the nation.

President Bazoum was detained on July 26, after which General Abdourahmane Tchiani, commander of the presidential guard, declared himself as the new leader. The international community has widely condemned this military takeover, with France, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States among those expressing disapproval.

In a televised statement on Sunday, a representative from Niger’s junta claimed to possess information about an impending attack by a foreign power on Niger. Ecowas military chiefs, following a crisis meeting in Nigeria, announced that they have formulated a comprehensive plan for potential military action. Abdel-Fatau Musah, Ecowas commissioner for political affairs, peace, and security, emphasized the importance of diplomacy, while urging Niger’s junta to reconsider their actions.

The ultimatum set by Ecowas a week earlier, demanding the relinquishment of power by the coup leaders by midnight local time, has passed without compliance. Ecowas consists of 15 West African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Ghana.

Despite mounting pressure, the coup leaders show no willingness to step down. Thousands of their supporters gathered defiantly at a stadium in Niger’s capital, Niamey, on Sunday. Two neighboring countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, have cautioned that any external military intervention in Niger would be considered a “declaration of war” against them. While Burkina Faso and Mali are Ecowas members, they are currently suspended from the bloc due to military rule.

Niger holds significant importance as a uranium producer, a crucial element for nuclear power. Under President Bazoum’s leadership, the nation played a vital role as a Western ally in the fight against Islamist extremists in the Sahel region of West Africa.

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