Niger cancels military pact with Benin
Niger’s military government has announced the termination of a military cooperation agreement with Benin, accusing its West African neighbor of supporting an imminent cross-border invasion.
In a statement on Tuesday, Niamey's new rulers claimed the Beninese government had authorized the deployment of troops, “mercenaries, and war materials in the perspective of an aggression desired by France” and “certain” countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Niger.
ECOWAS has threatened a military intervention aginst Niger, with backing from France, in response to the July 26 coup that removed President Mohamed Bazoum from power.
General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the coup leader, has defied the regional authority’s demand that Bazoum be reinstated, instead declaring a three-year transition period.
The military government has repeatedly accused France of plotting an armed attack in Niger to restore the ousted president, whom the French government calls the African country’s only “legitimate” leader.
Colonel Amadou Abdramane, spokesman for the government in Niamey, said in a statement on Saturday that Paris was continuing to deploy troops to several ECOWAS countries in preparation for an intervention in Niger.
The coup leaders claimed that French authorities had deployed two military helicopters and 40 armored vehicles in Benin.
The military rulers said on Tuesday that the Beninese government’s decision to support “aggression” against Niger while it deals with a difficult “security, political, and economic situation,” rather than opposing an intervention, violates the military pact signed in July last year.
The coup leaders stated that as a result, Niamey has decided to end the pact after having stated its desire to avoid escalation and repeatedly calling for compliance with the obligations of the agreement.
“Diplomatic correspondence will be sent to the Beninese authorities, in accordance with the relevant procedure,” the statement added.