Niger’s junta told a top U.S. diplomat that they would kill deposed President Mohamed Bazoum if neighboring countries attempted any military intervention to restore his rule, two Western officials told The Associated Press.
Representatives of the junta told U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the threat to Bazoum during her visit to the country this week, a Western military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
According to AP, a U.S. official confirmed that account, also speaking on condition of anonymity, because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Bazoum, who was deposed on July 26, says he is being held hostage at his residence.
The regional ECOWAS bloc said Thursday it had directed the deployment of a “standby force” to restore democracy in Niger after the coup. However, it ga
ve no details about the make-up, location, and proposed date of deployment for any military intervention force.
Heads of member states of the West African bloc met in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, Thursday.
Asked for clarification, the president of the ECOWAS commission, Omar Alieu Touray, said he could only reaffirm the decisions by “the military authorities in the subregion to deploy a standby force of the community.”
Financing had been discussed and “appropriate measures have been taken,” he said.