Niger’s coup leaders have closed the country’s airspace until further notice, citing the threat of military intervention from their neighbours.
According to BBC, flight tracking website Flightradar24 is showing that there are currently no aircraft in Niger’s skies.
ADULAWO NEWS reports that ECOWAS, had earlier warned it could use force if President Mohamed Bazoum was not reinstated on Sunday, but a junta spokesman said Niger’s armed forces are ready to defend the country.
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Bazoum was detained on 26 July, and Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani, commander of the presidential guard, later proclaimed himself the new leader.
The military takeover has been internationally condemned, including by former colonial power France and the rest of the European Union, as well as the United Nations and the United States.
Reading a statement on national television on Sunday, the representative from Niger’s junta said they had information that “a foreign power” was preparing to attack Niger.
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After a crisis meeting in Nigeria, the West African bloc military chiefs said on Friday they had drawn up a detailed plan for the possible use of force.
“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,” said Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security.
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And 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”.u
They issued their ultimatum a week ago, demanding the generals relinquish power by midnight local time, which has now passed.