A former Tuareg rebel leader has formed the Council of Resistance for the Republic (CRR) movement in Niger, in order to support besieged President Mohamed Bazoum and restore the government displaced by the July 26 coup.
Rhissa Ag Boula said Wednesday in a CRR statement that his group supports the efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as the African Union in opposing the coup led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani. The CRR is available to ECOWAS, a 15-member organization whose leaders are split on how to manage the Niger crisis but collectively have said that all options, including military force, remain on the table.
Nigeria, Senegal, Benin and Côte d’Ivoire have said they’ll commit troops in the event intervention is necessary, according to security analyst Jules Duhamel. Mali and Burkina Faso have sided with Niger and, on Monday, sent a diplomatic delegation to Niamey in a show of support. The two neighboring countries, once aligned with Niger as part of a regional Sahel force coordinated with France, have removed their own leaders by force and opposed Western involvement in recent years.
While the delegation from Mali and Burkina Faso was welcome in Niger, others haver met with resistance to the idea of further negotiations, as has been the case with ECOWAS representatives who were turned away on Tuesday as well as Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland of the United States.
ECOWAS plans another extraordinary summit in Abuja on Thursday.