Mali And Burkina Faso Deploy Fighter Jets To Niger Amidst ECOWAS Threat
In a swift response to the looming threat from the regional bloc ECOWAS, Mali and Burkina Faso have dispatched fighter jets to Niger, as reported by the country’s state broadcaster, ORTN. The urgency stems from ECOWAS’ intention to intervene and remove the junta in Niger.
In a late-night broadcast on Friday, dated August 18, 2023, ORTN showcased footage depicting a fleet of fighter jets gracefully descending at a Niamey facility, a display of solidarity and preparedness.
“Transforming their pledges outlined in the joint statement, Mali and Burkina Faso have taken tangible actions,” ORTN captioned the video uploaded on Facebook, further explaining, “These two allied nations have mobilized their fighter jets to counteract any potential aggression targeting Niger.”
During a conference in Accra from August 17 to 18, top military officials from ECOWAS convened and unanimously resolved to activate military measures through the ECOWAS standby force if the diplomatic initiatives, scheduled for August 19, do not come to fruition.
This coup on July 26, 2023, which saw the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum, marks the fifth instance of its kind within West Africa over the past three years.
Mali and Burkina Faso, acting in support of the Nigerien junta, have individually experienced two coup d’états each in recent times. Guinea, too, witnessed a coup with the ousting of Alpha Conde in 2021.
Furthermore, according to observations on social media monitored by GhanaWeb, the ORTN broadcast originating from Niamey airport unveiled the presence of a Hürkus-C light ground attack aircraft, a creation of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), belonging to the Niger Air Force. The aircraft, adorned in a complete grey hue, is armed and features an EO/IR imaging system tailored for reconnaissance purposes, as detailed by a security expert on Twitter (now X).
In conclusion, the joint efforts of Mali and Burkina Faso to reinforce Niger’s defence and deter aggression signal the unity of West African nations during challenging times. The proactive measures taken by ECOWAS indicate their commitment to restoring stability to the region. The emergence of advanced aircraft in Niger’s defence arsenal underlines the country’s preparedness to safeguard its sovereignty.