Senegal said Thursday that it will participate if the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decides to intervene militarily in Niger following last week’s coup.
Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall told reporters during a government press briefing in the capital Dakar that there had been “one coup too many” in the region and cited Senegal’s international commitments.
“Senegalese soldiers, for all these reasons, will go there,” she said.
Regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened potential use of force if the junta does not restore ousted President Mohamed Bazoum by Sunday.
Niger is the fourth member of the bloc to undergo a putsch since 2020.
The military chiefs of ECOWAS member countries met in Nigeria on Wednesday for three days of consultations.
Tall Sall said Senegal was obligated to go along with ECOWAS’s decisions.
But she added, “Senegal’s conviction is that these coups must be stopped — that’s why we are going there”.
She also raised the question of why ECOWAS would send troops to Niger when it had not done so in Mali, Guinea or Burkina Faso following coups in those countries.
“To give a simple answer, because it is one coup too many”, she said.
But, she added, the “real” reason was that ECOWAS wanted to do everything it could to negotiate with those countries on the timelines for returning power to elected civilians.
Tall Sall also criticised the argument, used by the juntas in the Sahel, that they had needed to seize power in order to advance the fight against jihadism.
“Has there been any single time they have put an end to the insecurity?” she said.
“What we have seen is that, once in power, the soldiers take over civilian roles”.