Niger’s coup leaders have indefinitely closed the country’s airspace. The military coup saw President Mohamed Bazoum detained and General Abdourahmane Tchiani self-proclaimed as the new leader.

The move was a response to the perceived threat of military intervention from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). ECOWAS warned that they would consider using force if President Mohamed Bazoum was not reinstated by 23:00 GMT on Sunday.

Flightradar24 reveals that no aircraft traverse Niger’s skies.

A spokesman for the coup asserted that Niger’s armed forces are prepared to defend the country against external aggression. Niger’s airspace closure is seen as a proactive measure.

The military coup took place on 26 July, leading to President Mohamed Bazoum’s detention. General Abdourahmane Tchiani, commander of the presidential guard, seized power and declared himself the new leader. This plunged the nation into political uncertainty and diplomatic turmoil.

Consequently, the international community has condemned the coup and its subsequent actions. France, the European Union, the United Nations, and the United States disapprove of the military takeover. They demand a swift return to constitutional order and the release of the detained president.

Following an emergency meeting in Nigeria, ECOWAS military leaders announced on Friday that they had formulated a comprehensive strategy for potential military action.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace, and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musah announced that the intervention plan has been meticulously crafted, covering all aspects, including the necessary resources and deployment strategies.

ECOWAS continues to advocate for a peaceful resolution and emphasises diplomacy as the preferred approach. The regional bloc is urgently urging Niger’s junta to reconsider their actions, reverse the coup, and facilitate the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum through peaceful means.

ECOWAS, consisting of 15 West African countries, including Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Ghana, holds a pivotal role in the region’s political and economic landscape.

However, neighbouring countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, have issued a stern warning in response to ECOWAS’s military intervention plans. Both countries, while currently suspended from ECOWAS due to their own military juntas’ rule, assert that any external military intervention in Niger would be regarded as “a declaration of war” against them. The delicate situation highlights the intricate web of regional politics and security dynamics in West Africa.

In the meantime, Niger’s coup leaders have displayed no inclination to relinquish power. On Sunday, their supporters rallied in the capital, Niamey, backing the military junta’s rule.

Niger’s significance as a major uranium producer adds complexity to the crisis. The country plays a crucial role in supplying uranium, a vital fuel for nuclear power, to global markets. Additionally, under President Bazoum’s leadership, Niger was a key ally in the international fight against Islamist militants in the Sahel region of West Africa.